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77ie Foundation for Art In Cinema 
Is supported In part with funds from: 

National Endowment for the Arts 
California Arts Council 
San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund 
San Francisco Foundation 

From the collection of the 


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b t 



San Francisco, California 


San Francisco Cinematheque 

480 Polrero A venue 

San Francisco. CA 94110 

(415) 558-8129 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 
is supported In part with funds from: 

National Endowment lor the Arts 
California Arts Council 
San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund 
San Francisco Foundation 


The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


"I feel a very great need to communicate. I work 
hundreds and hundreds of hours for one particular 
minute in my films and I could never produce such 
a minute by talking. The real statement which I 
want to make in the world is my films. Everything 
else is irrelevant." — Peter Kubelka, 1966 

To date, six short but exquisitely realized films form the basis of 
Peter Kubelka's reputation as a master of personal cinema. Personal, 
for this Austrian filmmaker, involves an exploration of the medium 
to express his particular sense of reality. Kubelka began working 
with film in 1952 and MOSAIR IM VERTRAUEN was completed three years 
later. But it was with ADEBAR (1957), SCHWECHATER (1958) and 
ARNULF RAINER (1960) that Kubelka seized upon the fascinations that 
have absorbed him ever since. The striking quality of these works, 
what Kubelka calls his "metric films", is the play of light and its 
absence, sound and its silence and the rhythms that reside therein and 
between. (Knowing how difficult it is to discern a rhythm in just one 
viewing, Kubelka intended these films to screened over and over again; 
tonight each will be seen twice.) With UNSERS AFR1KAREISE (1965), 
(whose 12 minutes " absorbed five years of Kubelka's life), he achieves 
a sublime synchronization of image and sound that is as intricate as 
the most complex musical composition. It also marked the first time 
that Kubelka ventured away from his standard 35mm format to 16mm. 
PAUSE! completes tonight's program as the filmmaker's most recent ex- 
ploration of the plastics of film, as architecture for the eye and ear. 

Kubelka's comments on: 


"ADEBAR was my second film, Until then I had only seen, outside my own 
personal vision, the normal, commercial cinema, low-key cinema; and I 
had a very deep dissatisfaction with what cinema was about. I was lack- 
ing a satisfactory form. At that time I already had the feeling that 
cinema could give me the qualities and beauties which the other arts had 
been able to achieve. I saw how beautiful classic buildings were... I had 
studied music and I knew about the rhythmic structures in music and I 
knew about the fantastic enjoyment of time with which music grips you. 
But in cinema there was nothing! When you regard the time in which films 
take place (a normal, storytelling film, good or bad) it is a time which 
has no form; it's very very amorphous. So I wished to create a thing 
which would establish for my eyes a harmonic time as 

music establishes a harmonic, rhythmic, a measured time for the ears... 
I had never seen anything like that. I just had the wish to create 
something which would have a rhythmic harmony for the eyes, distill out 
of the amorphous, visual, outside world something harmonic." 

HATER "the first film that worked with the event of the frame 


"This film was for me, t 
movies, which means, the 
which lies in the fact t 
one. SCHWECHATER lasts 
Or it is a negative cont 
beer. That content came 
film that. [The film wa 
paign for Schwechater be 
energy in this film. Ye 
there's more visual ener 
minute I have ever seen, 
fact that here I broke t 
which say that cinema is 
projection which goes in 
you could call it." 

he real discovery of the fact that cinema is not 

discovery of the strong side of the medium, 
hat you can use these light impulses one by 
one minute. The content is practically zero, 
ent. There are elements of people drinking 

out of the outward pressure. I was forced to 
s originally commissioned as a publicity earn- 
er.] The content is not at all a source of 
t there is an incredible visual energy. In fact 
gy in this minute than in any other filmic 

Where does it come from? It comes from the 
he old aesthetic, the old laws of cinema, 
movement. Cinema is nothing but a rapid slide 
a steady rhythm: twenty-four slides per second, 


"Every painter tries to discover objective reality. But what is for me, 
objective, may not be for you. My ARNULF RAINER is a documentary; it _is 
an objective film; it is a world where there is lightning and thunder 
twenty-four times a second, let's say...." 

"I looked at the footage I had made of Arnulf Rainer [a painter friend 
of Kubelka ' s ]... and ... about the same time in Brussels I had seen 
Brakhage's ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT and noticed the similar it ie s ... I 
was very impressed with what Stan did with his camera... so the movie I 
subsequently made of Rainer was inspired by Stan's handling of the camera." 

"[Ecstasy] means being 
the laws of nature, no 
being born, youth, age 
and philosophers, is r 
want to die, but I hav 
serve under it. There 
if it is just for my i 
I want ecstasy. There 
ways, not so subtle wa 
dance ecstasy, the dri 
ecstasies; then of cou 
the religious, and the 
With this film I was a 
one get ecstasy in the 
to make a rhythmic buil 
exact, fast and has a 
measure, harmony and b 

situated outside of it, and it's a means to beat 
t to be slaves of nature ... This cycle of life, 

which is so idealized by so many civilizations 
ejected by some, and I am one of them. I don't 
e to. I don't want to age either, but I must 

is a possibility to get out of all of it, even 
nterior reality... I want out, I want other laws, 

have been many ways to achieve ecstasy; subtle 
ys ; consequential, not so consequential. The 
nking ecstasies, the drug ecstasies, the art 
rse the cooler ecstasies— the philosophical, 

sport ecstasies. There are innumerable ones. 
fter the cinematographic ecs tasy . . . Now how will 

cinema? Well, what I can do in the cinema is 
ding between light and sound Which is complex, 
certain strength. Also, it must have exact 
eat. That is one of the possibilities of cinema." 


"But what I wanted in AFRIKAREISE was to create a world that had the 
greatest fascination on the spectator possible. This world had to be 
very naturalistic, so that you could really identify and enter it. 
It's, therefore, that I want a big screen for it, so you can see the 
blood and the elephants and the women and the Negro flesh and the 
landscapes. This was one thing. And the other thing was that I wanted 
to have it so controlled as if I had painted it or made up myself and 
I achieved that through this immense, immense long work of thousands 
of hours cataloging the whole material practically frame by by. So 
there is this continuous correspondence between sound and image. After 
you see the film twelve or twenty times, then you notice that prac- 
tically every optical event corresponds to the acoustic event... I never 
want to make a funny scene, or a sad scene--I always... I want them very 
complex, never one single feeling but many many feelings always... In 
my films, there are moments where everything stands still. This is a 
very important thing for me. This is in all of my films. Some films 
as a whole are like that. These are moments of escape, from the burden 
of existence, so to say--moments where you are not human, nor something 
else— not an angel or something, but just Out , out of it, and when 
nothing happens, and nothing leads to this, and this leads to nothing, 
and there is no tension, and so on. This is the scene ... where the 
Negroes just walk." 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


WATER WRACKETS (1975, 12 min.) 

"...a sober sound track describes a specific period perhaps in the Arthurian past 
when ceremony counted for as much as deeds- of the tortured history of a bellicose 
but religiously observant waterside community. A wrack is wreckage or a ruin or 
even some vegetation cast ashore. All meanings are appropriate to the appreciation 
of WATER WRACKETS, in whose text unfamiliar words abound and whose narration sounds 
as much like science fiction as historical surmise. Indeed the whole strange and 
haunting work may be seen as a meditation on conjecture..." 

WINDOWS (1975, b min) 

" is about people who leave a room by its window, or at least about the large 
number of people who do so in a small but particular English country parish. While 
dogs bark and a clavicord is played, while daylight comes and goes through a window, 
statistics are read about who fell from windows in summer, how many fell into the 
snow, and so on... As the filmmaker notes... statistics leave as much out as in, 
and WINDOW watchers are certainly tempted to imaginatively fill in the unspoken 
connecting links of this brief but illuminating report." 

DEAR PHONE (1977, 17 min.) 

"Telephones exert a tyranny in our everyday lives; although this cannot be denied, 
their power is certainly subverted, as in the progress of the fourteen stories in 
this wicked comedy that the filmmaker says masqerades as 'an oblique consideration 
of narrative'... A voiceover persuasively reads these stories, but makes significant 
alterations to them. The phone kiosks begin as illustrations but soon become anthro- 
pomorphized as eccentric characters in their own right." 

H IS FOR HOUSE (1978, 9 min.) 

"...the idyllic outdoors and various voices rhyming phrases like 'half past four' 
that begin with H. You must understand of course that this has to do with the 
world turning counter-clockwise, and that H IS FOR HOUSE is about as sensible and 
entertaining as other Dadaistic works." 

A WALK THROUGH H (1978, 42min.) 

"Alternately titled THE REINCARNATION OF AN ORNITHOLOGIST, this eccentric film is 
based on an ornithological treatise by Tulse Luper that describes a mythical journey 
through the land of H. . . a cross between a vintage Borges fiction and a Disney 
True Life Adventure... a narrative without characters. The disjunction and accidental 
meanings that are created are the real pleasure of the film." 

Notes excerpted from the article "Contemporary British Independent Film: Voyage of 
Discovery" by John Ellis, published by The Museum of Modern Art 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

December 19, 1985 


Monster by Deborah Clarkin, 1982, 12 minutes, sound. 

A figure in an overcoat and gloves is seen from behind, lurching toward a 
door, as if to open it, only to be stopped by a splice in mid-lurch, followed 
by a repetition of the same action again and again. Superimposed titles 
tell the story of Monster coming to the door and interrupting a quiet 
domestic scene. We notice that the characters' names are Mother, Father, 
Baby, Brother and Monster. This implies the Monster is a member of the 
family. A chain of bizarre events results in the curtains catching fire 
and Father fleeing out the window. At one point Monster turns its head 
slightly - it is a young woman. Monster is a quietly forceful statement 
of alienation. 

Clarkin 's films frequently tackle their subjects in a manner appropriate 
to a feminist reading. Housework, sexual interaction, and family relations 
are taken apart, reassembled, and revealed and exposed, frequently with 
a twist of ironic humor. 

The Scissor That Has Found Its Own Pair by Rirkrit Tiravanija, 1985, 8 minutes, 


A film about the feeling which one sometimes gets — objects, people, things 
are always around (in the way) when you don't need them, but can't be 
found when you do. - R.T. 

Rirkrit Tiravanija is a native of Bangkok, Thailand, but has lived in 
Argentina, Canada, England and Chicago before settling in New York City 
in 1982. Primarily an artist whose work has dealt mostly with sculptural 
and installation concerns, Rirkrit has made several Super-8 films over the 
past few years while at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Banff School 
of Art in Alberta. He is presently a member of the Whitney Independent 
Studio Program. He has exhibited work at Gallery Oboro, Montreal; the 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Big on Brazil Gallery, Alberta; and 
the Collective for Living Cinema in New York. 

The Manhattan Love Suicides , produced and directed by Richard Kern. Soundtrack 
by J.H. Thirlwell, with Nick Zedd, Bill Rice, Adrienne Altenhaus, David 
Wojnarowicz, Tom Turner and Amy Turner. 1985, 35 minutes, sound. 

New York City 1985 - A churning world where the realities of poverty and 
sex among the desperate musicians, artists and scene makers dictates a 
mutated parody of normal lifestyles. Consumed with bitterness and 
hatred, the characters of M.L.S. stalk their objects of attention through 
the depths of the Lower East Side. They are obsessive and selfish but 
sometimes they fall in love. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes 
sad, but always violent. 


Revenge of the Dearest by Anthony Chase, 1985, 15 minutes, sound. Starring 

John Kelly and Stacy Grabert. 

A sequel to The Dagmar Onassis Story (1984) . Dagmar discards her baby to 
pursue her singing career. After years of success, her filial choice begins 
to haunt her. 

Anthony Chase is a native South African but has lived in New York since 
1983. His Super-8mm films are often screened in collaborative performances 
with performance artists John Kelly and Marleen Menard and painter Huck 
Snyder. He has shown films at the Limbo Lounge, the Collective for 
Living Cinema and the Pyramid Club in New York. - A.C. 

From Romance to Ritual by Peggy Ahwesh, 1985, 21 minutes, sound. With Margie 

Strossner, Mandy Ahwesh, Renate Walker and Natalka Voslakov. 

An ordering of documentary style footage that I have shot over the past 
year with family and friends. The film is organized around the interlocking 
themes of women's sexuality, memory, growing up and personal story telling 
and how they are at odds with the dominant history. Through my camera style, 
I hope to maintain the priveledged intimacy of home movies but with me 
behind the camera instead of 'daddy 1 . - P. A. 

Super-8 New York was guest curated by Robin Dickie, Program Director of the 
Collective for Living Cinema, New York. 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


Thursday, January 17, 1985 

This is the third In a series of programs based on the films 
available from Canyon Cinema, one of the largest distributors 
of independent films in the United States. Each program is 
guest-curated by a different filmmaker, critic or scholar. 
Tonight's selection was made by Charles Wright, filmmaker and, 
from 1975 to 1977, co-director of the Cinematheque. These films 
represent the range of style and taste in filmmaking that was 
current in the Bay Area during the late sixties and early seventies. 
"Somewhat less recent films that are sometimes different from 
each other." - Charles Wright 

STANDU? & BE COUNTED by Freude and Scott Bartlett, 1969, 3 min . 
A continuous dissolve into a series of happy nude couples In various 
configurations: female/male, female/female, male/male, as the 
Rolling Stones sing "We Love You." 

THE DIVINE MIRACLE by Daina Krumins, 1973, 5i min. "'The Divine 
Miracle treads a delicate line between reverence and spoof as it 
briefly portrays the agony, death, and ascension of Christ in the 
vividly colored and heavily outlined style of Catholic devotional 
postcards." - Edgar Daniels, Filmmakers' Newsletter 

LIGHT TRAPS by Louis Hock, 1975, 10 min. A dance metered between 
the tempo of 60 cycles per second of electrified gas and camera 
shutter, further wrought by the manual, etched harmonics. 

REGITAL TRAINING AT BULLOCK'S by Roger Darbonne, 1971, 15 min. 
"The Regitel is an electronic point-of-sale cash register... I had 
two goals for the film: to show (in self-teaching fashion) how to 
work the wonder machine, and to develop a comfortable intimacy for 
warding off any fear of 2001 gadgetry." - Roger Darbonne 

BEING by William Farley, 197U--75, 10 min. The film is a comment on 
contemporary culture, relationships between public information and 
private consciousness and the nature of reality. 

CATCHING THE ASIAN CARP by Bill Allan and Bruce Nauman, 1971, 

3 min . Narration by William Allan and Robert Nelson. Both Bill 

Allan and Bruce Nauman are Funk Artists. 

A VISIT TO INDIANA by Curt McDowell, 1970, 10 min. "A powerful, 
controversial film for discussion in senior high school language 
arts and social studies classes and college courses in sociology 
and psychology. Ages 16 to adult." - The Booklist , American 
Library Association 

KILLMAN by Herb de Grasse, 1966, 16 rain. The adventures of an 
Insidious fiend, whose chief occupation is going around and killing 
people. His activities are so perverse, that he even gets scared. 

SUBPOENA FOR SABINA by Ed Jones, 1976, 3 rain. A filmed love letter 
made public. 

PASTEUR3 by Will Hindle, 1977, 22 min. "This film seemed ^o me the 
ultimate portrait of an immigrant, or the Displaced Person-displaced 
in nature, displaced on the continent. With this pun or metaphor 
that he makes, and despite all the artifice, it seems quite natural, 
it comes across as both funny and sad... How odd it is to walk 
through this world and find there are things that poison you." - 
Stan Brakhage 

Program notes from Canyon Cinema catalog # 5 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film 
Sunday, Feb. 3, 1985 


EATING MANGOES (1984) by Ethan Van der Ryn [8 min., color/sound] 

"EATING MANGOES is the story of an American boy coming of age in 
Western Somoa. It is a film of dislocation and of the tensions 
that arise therefrom. 'Tropic: turning, changing, or tending to 
turn or change in a (specified) manner or in response to a 
(specified) stimulus. — Webster's Dictionary'" 

THREE VOICES (1983) by Lynn Kirby [4% min. , color/sound] 

Part of a series of films shot from my apartment windows. As the 
windows are washed and people return from work, three facets of 
the same personality explore daily life and the threat of war. 

diary of an autistic child/part two/the ragged edges of the hollow 
(1984) by Edwin Cariati [6 min., color/silent] 

master and slave lose sight of roles and embrace in copulative 
ecstacy. the edges of the hollow yearn to become the matter from 
which they have been released. .. .the autistic child views multiple 
realities, as interchange is manifested in the hollow where light 
and darkness unfold. 

GORILLA GRIP (1985) by Michael Rudnick and Mike Henderson 
[5 min., black & white/sound] 

GORILLA GRIP is our attempt to get to the quintessence of a mean- 
ingless idea. What do all opposite things have in common that 
can't be explained? 

TRUMPET GARDEN (1983) by Barbara Klutinis [10% min., color/sound] 

An environmental portrait — a magic garden in which a woman in 
black performs rituals with nature and with death. 

PLEASE DON'T STOP ( work-in-progress , with slides) [6 min., color/sound] 
by Stephanie Maxwell 

Test footage of new cameraless animation techniques; original sound- 
soundtrack. .. [about the slides]: These are hand-made slides demon- 
strating techniques I am using in the completion of my film, 
[about the film]: It's about time and cars... 


( over over .... over .... over ) 

THE BIG RED AUK (1984) by James Irwin [3 tain. , color/silent] 

Experimental non-camera animation. Frenetic colors and restless 
images form a back-drop for a child's cautionary fable .. .Words 
written directly on the emulsion "speak." silently to the viewer 
metaphorically about power, manipulation and the complicity of 
all of us. 

LAGOON SALON (1984) by Mark Sterne [6 min., color/sound] 

LYRIC AUGER (1984) by Conrad Steiner [3 min., color/silent] 

About the fragile state following the premonition of a grave 
error. Sin is not involved, only that zeal of an incautious 
moment. Imagine if with one word from you, one glance , the 
leaves would fall from the trees. 

ALONG THE WAY (1983) by Michael Wallin [20 min., color/sound] 

A visual journal or diary, an experimental "travelogue", where 
the signposts of interest are equally elements of architecture 
and plant life as people and events. The intent is to communicate 
the essential quality of "place", which is always an almalgam of 
the visual and the emotioinal .. ."Things are as they are — they are 
not like anything." — Robert Creeley — "No ideas but in things." 
William Carlos Williams 

[all descriptions provided by the filmmakers] 

***Wine and cheese will be served after the screening.**** 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film 

The Films of Joyce Wieland 

Thursday, February 7th, 198^T, 8 PM 
Ms. Wieland in Person 

Peggy's Blue Skylight (1965; released in 1984) 

This film was shot as part of a series of regular-8 mm films 
including the following titles: Larry's Recent Behavior (1963); 
Patriotism Parts 1 and 2 (1964); Watersark (1964-65.) 

Water Sark (1964-65) 

"I decided to make a film at my kitchen table, there is nothing 

like knowing my table. The high art of the housewife. You take 

nd myself to it. 'The Housewife is High'. 

prisms, glass, lights and my 

Water Sark is a film sculpture, drawing being made while you 

wait. --Joyce Wieland 

and B inOntario (1967; completed in 1984) 

Made in collaboration with Hollis Frampton 

Sailboat (1967 



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"This little Sailboat film will sail right through your gate and 
into your heart." --Joyce Wieland 

1933 (1967) 

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rporated into 
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"1933. The year?The number?The title? Was it (the film) made 
thenJIt's a memory! (ie. a Film). No, it's many 1 s so 
sad and funny: the departed, departing peop le , cars , s tree t ! I t 
hurries, it's gone, it's backllt's the only glimpse we have but we 
can have it again. The film (of 1933?) was made in 1967. You find 
out, if you didn't already know, how naming tints pure 
vision." --Michael Snow 

Rat Life and Diet in North Americ 

Less co 
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and poi 
Catf ood 
gerbi Is 
f ood , f 
in an i 
s tory o 
as the 
are use 

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nd at 
g to t 
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err i 
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a (1968) 

otential for producing tactile 
eaking through these illusions 
film, both Rat Life... and 
, highlighted through color and 
, Wieland writes: "I shot the 
ifferent things in their cages: 
tc. .When I put them in the sink 
e what the film was about. ..a 
It is a beast fable with gerbils 
the oppressors. Once again titles 
re flashed on the screen over the 

to introduce subsequent 
e escape of the gerbils from an 

Tl^vw^o of ^o-l^c^_ A/.. 


American political prison in 1968 to freedom in Canada, and how 
they take up organic gardening in the absence of DDT, occupy a 
millionaire's table, and enjoy a cherry festival and flower 
ceremony. However, it ends on a less humorous note: an American 
invasion. The film is very meticulously shot and controlled, 
and ... the color and delicacy of Wieland's approach to the 
animals and their surroundings create sensuously textured images 
and relationships. --Regina Cornwell 

Solidarity (1973) 

Joyce Wieland describes this film 
women are involved, but told in a 
opening statement of the film is 
appearing over the imagery and su 
center of the frame for the lengt 
"solidarity" itself thus becomes 
structure to the visual impact. A 
exists on the soundtrack and a fe 
captures the essence of human an 
portion only of the demonstrators 
into powerful compositions in str 
focusing on the texture of the gr 
patterns and pathways made by rai 
stark white of a cup, but, most i 
Women's feet in high-heeled shoes 
not in goosestep but as individua 
same class, yet each bearing its 
and layers of meaning. The film m 
isolating one single aspect of th 
strength of the subject, and of t 
Cinema. Vol. 1, #3. 1974.) 

as one "ab 
very diffe 
followed by 
staining it 
h of the fi 
a spatial e 
lthough the 
w readable 
xie ty and t 
' bodies: t 
ong colors; 
ass, the gr 
n, a discar 
mportant of 
, walking t 
Is will, cl 
akers ' powe 
e who 1 e , ma 
he film. 

out a strike in which 
rent way. . ." "500 
, APRIL 1973" This 

the title SOLIDARITY 
s po s i t ion on the 
lm . The wo rd 
lement and gives 

political message 
placards, the film 
oil by revealing one 
heir feet. We are lead 

walking shots 
ave 1 of the road , 
ded paperbag, the 

a 1 1 - - the shoes, 
ogeather in unison, 
early belonging to the 
stamp, carry layers 
r of observation, 
gnifies the enormous 
(excerpt from Art & 

I f you read in a Victorian novel thai an 
actress who began her career in the 
early 1800s was still going strong in 
T884, you would dismiss it as absurd. 
But transfer the century to our own. and 
the dates correspond to the career of Lil- 
lian Gish. She made her first appearance 
on the stage in 1901 at the age of five — as 
Baby Lillian — acted in her first film in 
1912. and recently finished a picture that 
will be released this year. Lillian Gish is no 
ordinary actress: by common consent, she 
is one of the greatest of this century- 

You can safely say that about stage 
players, for their performances survive 
only in the memory. But Lillian Gish's 
performances exist in films that have been 
subjected to scrutiny again and again. The 
verdict is always the same: Lillian Gish is 

Meeting her is an exhilarating experi- 
ence, for her enthusiasm is undimmed. She 
has the ability to convey her memories as 
though relating them for the first time. To 
see that face — the most celebrated of the 
entire silent era. and so little changed — 
and to hear references to "Mr. Griffith" 
and "Mary Pickford" is to know you arc at 
the heart of film history. 

Kevin Brownlow 

She was discovered, if that is the right 
word, by D.W. Griffith. She credits him 
with giving her the finest education in the 
craft of film that anyone could receive. He 
created much of that craft himself, making 
up the rules as he went along. She calls him 
"the Father of Film." And the pictures 
they made together read like a roll call of 
the classics of the cinema: The Birth of a 
Ration (1915). Intolerance (1916). Hearts 
of the World (1918), Broken Blossoms 
(1919). Way Down East (1920), Orphans 
of the Storm (1921). 

The films she made immediately after 
she left Griffith, when she had her choice 
of director, story, and cast, include more 
classics, such as La Boheme (1926), The 
Scarlet Letter (1926), and The Wind 
(1928). In a later chapter of her career, she 
played in Duel in the Sun (1946), The 
Right of the Hunter (1955), Orders to Kill 
(1958), and A Wedding (1978). 

"Wc used to laugh about films in the 
early days," she says. "We used to call 
them flickers. Mr. Griffith said, 'Don't you 
ever let me hear you use that word again. 
The film and its power arc predicted in the 
Bible. There's to be a universal language 
making all men understand each other. Wc 

arc taking the first baby steps in a power 
that could bring about the millennium. 
Remember that when you stand in front of 
the camera.'" 

It was this ideal, this integrity, thai 
made compromise so difficult for both of 
them. The seriousness with which Lillian 
Gish took her work was undermined at 
MGM in 1927 when it was suggested that 
a scandal might improve her performance 
at the box office. "You are way up there on 
a pedestal and nobody cares." said the 
producers. "If you were knocked off the 
pedestal, everyone would care." 

Lillian Gish realized she would be ex- 
pected to give a performance offscreen as 
well as on. "I'm sorry," she said, "1 just 
don't have that much vitality." Shortly 
afterward, she returned to her first love, 
the theater, and the cinema lost her for the 
better part of a decade. 

What the film producers failed to com- 
prehend was how much value for the 
money she gave them, for she was part of 
an older tradition. Griffith had imbued his 
players with the discipline and dedication 
of the nineteenth-century theater, and Lil- 
lian Gish carried these qualities to unprece- 
dented lengths. 

A celebration of this year's Life Achievement Award winner. 


In ihe film. Means of the World (\9\%), 
she gives a heartrending performance as a 
shell-shocked girl who wanders the battle- 
field, in search of her lover, carrying her 
wedding dress. The film established her 
uncanny ability to portray terror and hyste- 

ria, and it established, too, the warmth and 
poignancy she could bring to love scenes. 

But Hearts of the World paled by com- 
parison with the next major production of 
the partnership. Broken Blossoms (1919) 
had none of the usual Griffith trade- 
marks — no cast of thousands, no epic sets. 
It was based on a story by Thomas Burke 
about the love of a Chinese man for a 
twelve-year-old girl. At first, Lillian Gish 
fought against playing the role. She offered 
to work with a child of the right age, but 
felt she couldn't possibly play the part 
herself. Griffith insisted that only she 
could handle the emotional scenes. 

How right he was. Lillian Gish played 
the child (changed to a fifteen-year-old) 
with conviction. She invested the role with 
a quality so powerful and disturbing that a 
journalist — watching the filming of the 
scene where the girl hides in a closet as her 
father smashes the door with an ax — was 

She pressed her body closer to the 
wall — hugged it, threw her arms high 
above her head, dug her fingers into 
the plaster. A trickle of dust fell from 
beneath her nails. She screamed, a 
high-pitched, terrifying sound, a cry 
of fear and anguish. Then she turned 

Broken Blossoms: Gish played this scene 
so convincingly that a visitor to the set 
was horrified; The Night of the Hunter: 
older — and tougher. 

*ws\ -.: 

and faced the camera. 

It was the real thing. Lillian Gish 
was there, not ten feet from the cam- 
era, but her mind was somewhere else 
— somewhere in a dark closet. Tears 
were streaming from her eyes. Her 
face twitched and worked in fear. . . . 
I have always considered myself hard- 
boiled, but I sat there with my eyes 
popping out. 


t is hard for most filmgoers these days 
to see silent films. But in London last 
year, we staged a tribute to Lillian Gish 
Jl as part of the "Thames Silents" film 
program. "Thames Silents" is an out- 
growth of the "Hollywood" television se- 
ries that David Gill and I produced a few 
years ago for Thames Television . 

David Gill and composer Carl Davis 
were determined to present a silent film in 
a West End theater with a live orchestra, 
just as it would have been shown in the 
twenties. In November 1980, they pre- 
sented Abel Gance's Napoleon, and its 
success led to "Thames Silents" becoming 
an annual event. In 1981 they showed King 
Vidor's The Crowd and in 1982 Clarence 
Brown's Flesh and the Devil, with Garbo 
and Gilbert, and later that year Vidor's 
Show People, with Marion Davies — all 
with new scores by Carl Davis. (Each film 
is being prepared for television. MGM/ 
UA will distribute the MGM productions 
on video. ) 

Last year's event was highly appropri- 
ate, for no one has championed the cause of 
silent film with orchestral accompaniment 
more energetically than Lillian Gish. We 
were very anxious that she should make a 
personal appearance at the event, but, 
aware of her hectic schedule, we were 
doubtful whether she would have the en- 
ergy to travel to London. We underesti- 
mated her. Above all, Lillian Gish is a 
trouper. She said she would come, and 
come she did. 

There was a ripple of anticipation at the 
airport when her plane arrived. An off-duty 
immigration officer asked who we were 
waiting for, and when he heard the name, 
he produced a camera from his shoulder 
bag and joined us by the railings. Our 
spirits soared when we caught our first 
glimpse of that exquisite face. Miss Gish 
may technically be an old woman, but she 
is still astonishingly beautiful. 

We broke the news to her and her man- 
ager, James Frashcr. that a newspaper 
strike had wiped out our publicity, and that 
now everything depended on her. "We'll do 
a lot of radio," she said, "that'll help." 

Given one day in which to rest, she then 


myself: How can you survive such an or- 
deal without pneumonia? But an article by 
cameraman Lee Smith in the December 
1 92 1 issue of American Cinemaiographer, 
a technical journal that has never resorted 
to press agentry, described how the ice-floe 
sequence was shot: 

We had doubles for both Miss Gish 
and Mr. Richard Barthelmess, but 
never used them. . . . Miss Gish was 
the gamest little woman in the world. 
It was really pathetic to see the forlorn 
little creature huddled on a block of 
ice and the men pushing it off into the 
stream, but she never complained nor 
seemed to fear. But the cold was bitter 
and Miss Gish was bareheaded and 
without a heavy outer coat, so that it 
was necessary at intervals to bring her 
in and get her warm. Sometimes when 
the ice wouldn't behave she was al- 
most helpless from cold, but she im- 
mediately reacted and never seemed 
lo suffer any great distress. 

illian Gish came into pictures by acci- 
dent. In 1912, she and her sister, 
Dorothy, visited the Biograph Stu- 
dios in New York because they heard 
that their friend Gladys Smith was work- 
ing there. (Gladys Smith had changed her 
name to Mary Pickford.) In the lobby, the 
sisters met a hawk-faced young man who 
asked them if they could act. "I thought his 
name was Mr. Biograph. He seemed to be 
the owner of the place. Dorothy said, 'Sir, 
we are of the legitimate theater.'" 

"'Well,' he said. 'I don't mean reading 
lines. 1 mean, can you act?' We didn't know 
what he meant. He said, 'Come upstairs.' 
We went up there where all the actors were 
waiting and he rehearsed a story about two 
girls who are trapped by burglars, and the 
burglars arc shooting at them. We watched 
the other actors to see what they were 
doing and wc were smart enough to take 
our cues from them. Finally, at the climax, 
the man took a .22 revolver out of his 
pocket and started shooting at the ceiling 
and chasing us around the studio. Wc 
thought we were in a madhouse." 

The young director was D.W. Griffith, 
and the film became An Unseen Enemy, 
the first of many one- and two-rcclcrs to 
fe.ilure Lillian Gish. Thus her career began 
before the advent of the feature film. It 
was Griffith who helped to pioneer the 
feature film in the United States — and it 
was his epic I he Hinh of a i\aii<tn (1^15) 
lhal ensured its survival. "1 saw the 
rushes." she said "Even at that early age. I 
was (erriblv interested in film, how it was 

made, what happened to it. 1 was in with 
the developing and printing of the film, the 
cutting of it, so I'd seen 'The Clansman,' 
as it was then called. The others hadn't, 
and I was there that night the rest of the 
cast saw it for the first time. I remember 
Henry B. Walthall, who played the Little 
Colonel: He just sat there, stunned by the 
effect of it. He and his sisters were from 
the South. Eventually they said, 'It's unlike 
anything we've ever seen or ever imag- 

When Griffith visited England during 
the First World War, ostensibly to arrange 
for the premiere of his 1916 epic. Intoler- 
ance, he began to prepare for a huge propa- 
ganda film to support the Allied cause. He 
brought over Lillian and Dorothy Gish, 
traveling in the company of their mother, 
to play the leads. The journey across the 
Atlantic was dangerous enough, with con- 
stant peril from U-boats, and their stay at 
the Savoy Hotel in London was enlivened 
by German bombing raids. But Griffith 
decided to take them to France, and there 
they saw the devastation of war at first 

"In one of the villages on the way up 
front from Senlis," said Lillian Gish, "we 


She arrived on the 

set with sunken eyes 

and hollow cheeks; 

she had stopped 

drinking liquids 

for three days to 

give her lips the 

necessary dryness. 

saw a house that had been destroyed: bits 
and pieces of furniture and an old coffee- 
pot on its side. What pictures it brought up, 
because everyone there had been killed. As 
we drove up in this car to places where they 
wouldn't send trained nurses — they were 
valuable, actresses were a dime a dozen — 
we saw the astonished look on the faces of 
all the soldiers. They couldn't believe that 
these people in civilian clothes — we were 
dressed as we were in the film — would be 
up there. And we were within range of the 
long-distance guns." 

Way Dow'n East: She refused a double for this harrowing sequence. 

^a H 


%i ^m^ 

■ .to* 

MARCH 1984 25 

When she worked with the young King 
Vidor on La Boh'eme, she astonished him 
with her dedication. He was not accus- 
tomed to actresses who prepared them- 
selves so thoroughly for their parts. She felt 
that research was part of the job. As Mimi, 
she had to die of tuberculosis, so she asked 
a priest to take her to a hospital to talk to 
those who were really dying of the disease. 

She arrived on the set with sunken eyes 
and hollow cheeks, and Vidor asked what 
she had done to herself. She replied thai 
she had stopped drinking liquids for three 
days to give her lips the necessary dryness. 
When he shot the death scene, he decided 
to call "cut" only when he saw her gasp 
after holding her breath to simulate death. 
But nothing happened. She did not take a 

"I began to be convinced that she was 
dying." said Vidor. "I began to see the 
headlines in my mind: 'Actress Plays Scene 
So Well She Actually Dies.' 1 was afraid to 
cut the camera for a few moments. Finally, 
I did and I waited. Still no movement from 
Lillian John Gilbert bent over and whis- 
pered her name. Her eyes slowly opened. 
At last she look a deep breath, and I knew 
everything was all right. She had somehow 
managed to find a way to get along without 
breathing . . . visible breathing, anyway. 
We were all astounded and there was no 
one on the set whose eyes were dry." 

Small wonder that Vidor said. "The 
movies have never known a more dedicated 
artist than Lillian Gish." 

The qualities for which Lillian Gish is 
famous were exemplified in D.W. Grif- 
fith's production of Way Down East. 
The picture was based on an old theat- 
rical melodrama so lurid that when she 
read the play, she could hardly keep from 
laughing. It tells of Anna Moore, a country 
girl who visits ihe city and is seduced by a 
wealthy playboy by means of a mock mar- 
riage. Abandoned and destitute, she gives 
birth to a baby that dies soon afterward. 
She wanders the countryside and finds a 
haven at a farm. But when her secret is 
discovered, she is turned out of the house. 
Staggering through a snowstorm, she col- 
lapses on the ice as it starts to break up, and 
is carried toward certain death over the 
falls. The farmer's son, who loves her, races 
to the rescue, leaping from floe to floe and 
grasping her a split second before disaster. 
Griffith transformed this material into 
superb entertainment, and by her presence 
Lillian Gish gave the story a conviction and 
a poignancy no other actress could have 
provided. "We filmed the baptism of An- 
na's child at night," she wrote in her auto- 
biography, recently reissued, "in a corner 
of the studio, with the baby's real father 
looking on. Anna is alone: the doctor has 
given up hope for her child. She resolves to 
baptize the infant herself. The baby was 
asleep, and. as we didn't want to wake him, 
I barely whispered the words, 'In the name 
of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Ghost ..." as I touched the tiny tem- 

La Boheme.'G/'.rA j death scene with John 
Gilbert; director King Vidor and producer 
Irving Thalberg on the set. 

"There was only the sound of the turning 
camera. Then I heard a thud. The baby's 
father had slumped to the floor in a faint. 
D.W. Griffith was crying. He waved his 
hand in front of his face to signify that he 
couldn't talk. When he regained control of 
himself, he took me in his arms and said 
simply. 'Thank you.'" 

The film was made in and around Grif- 
fith's Mamaroneck studio, on a peninsula 
jutting out into Long Island Sound. The 
winter was so severe that the Sound report- 
edly, froze over. For one scene, shot during 
a blizzard, three men lay on the ground, 
gripping the legs of the tripod while Billy 
Bitzer ground the camera and Lillian Gish 
staggered into the teeth of the storm. "My 
face was caked with a crust of snow," she 
said, "and icicles like little spikes formed 
on my eyelashes, making it difficult to keep 
my eyes open. Above the howling storm 
Mr. Griffith shouted, 'Billy, move in! Get 
that face.'" 

On top of this, she had to shoot the ice- 
floe scenes. One of her ideas for this se- 
quence was to allow her hand and hair to 
trail in the water as she lay on the floe. "1 
was always having bright ideas and suffer- 
ing for them," she wrote. "After a while, 
my hair froze, and I felt as if my hand were 
in a flame. To this day, it aches if I am out 
in the cold for very long." 

Motion picture history is compounded of 
generous helpings of legend, and some his- 
torians have wondered if Lillian Gish has 
exaggerated her feat. I have wondered that 


•plunged into a schedule that exhausted 
everyone but her. When she arrived for a 
lecture at the National Film Theatre, she 
was mobbed. Cameramen, professional 
and amateur, crowded round, and it was all 
James Frasher could do to get her to the 
reception room. The theater was packed 
and she delighted the audience with her 
enthusiastic recall and her humor. 

"Is there any part you wished you'd 
played?" asked a member of the audience. 

"A vamp," she replied. "Oh, I'd love to 
have played a vamp. Seventy-five percent 
of your work is done for you. When you 
play those innocent little virgins, that's 
when you have to work hard. They're all 
right for five minutes, but after that you 
have to work to hold the interest. I always 
called them 'ga-ga babies.'" 

During the next few days, she embarked 
on a nonstop series of interviews for radio, 
television, and the newspapers, which grad- 
ually returned from the strike. She was 
interviewed by Carol Thatcher, the prime 
minister's daughter, for the Daily Tele- 
graph and by John Gielgud, an old friend, 
who talked with her about the theater for 
the Guardian. Ticket sales showed a 
marked improvement. 

The films. Broken Blossom;: and The 
Wind, were shown in a West End theater 
called the Dominion, built in 1 929. Chaplin 
premiered City Lights there. The twenties 
decor is still intact, and, more important, 
there's still a pit for the orchestra. 

I was very pessimistic about the size of 
the audience; I recalled seeing The Wind 
many years ago at the National Film The- 
atre with seven people. But our tribute 
averaged more than a thousand people at 
each of the four performances. As anyone 
who has tried to program silent films will 
agree, that is an astonishing turnout. 

II was also gratifying to see Lillian 
Gish's name in huge letters on a marquee 
again, and to see the crowds gathering 
before each show with autograph books. 
The first night. Broken Blossoms was at- 
tended by some of the most famous names 
in the English theater, not only John Giel- 
gud, but also Emlyn Williams, who played 
Richard Barthclmess's part in the remake 
of Broken Blossoms. Silent star Bessie 
Love came to see her old friend; they had 
both been in Intolerance. They posed for 
pictures with Dame Anna Neagle, whose 
husband Herbert Wilcox directed Dorothy 
Gish in the silent era. 

Lillian -Gish introduced the film and 
supplied some of the background. She also 
explained the importance of the music. 
Carl Davis had arranged the original Louis 
Gottschalk score of 1919 (the Gish charac- 

— t— 

"When you play 

virgins, you have to 

work hard. They're all 

right for five 

minutes ; after 

that you have to 

work to hold the 



ter's theme, "White Blossom," was com- 
posed by D.W Griffith himself). The audi- 
ence watched the beautiful tinted print 
with rapt attention. The occasion was un- 
marred by those titters that so often wreck 
showings of silent films. One could feel the 
emotion, and the applause afterward was 
tremendous. "I have been going to the 
cinema for fifty years," said one man, "but 
this was my greatest evening." 

I hope he was there the following eve- 
ning, for it was even more impressive. In 
her introduction, Lillian Gish left no doubt 
that The Wind was physically the most 
uncomfortable picture she had ever made 
—even worse than Way Down East. "I can 
stand cold," she explained, "but not heat." 
The exteriors were photographed in the 
Mojave Desert, near Bakersfield, where it 
was seldom under 120 degrees. "I remem- 
ber having to fix my makeup and I went to 
the car and I left part of the skin of my 
hand on the door handle. It was like pick- 
ing up a red-hot poker. To create the wind- 
storm, they used eight airplane engines 
blowing sand, smoke, and sawdust at me." 

MGM/UA allowed us to provide a new 
score for The Wind (which will also replace 
the 1928 Movietone recording in the televi- 
sion version). Carl Davis and arrangers 
Colin and David Matthews created a storm 
sequence of earsplitting volume. As one 
critic said, it was as though they had 
brought the hurricane into the theater. The 
effect of the film and the music pulverized 
the audience. Lillian Gish said it was the 
most exciting presentation of The Wind 
she had seen in years. Some people com- 
pared the experience to seeing Napoleon, 
and several found it even more powerful. 
The critic of the Daily Telegraph com- 
pared Gish to Sarah Bernhardt and that of 
the Guardian thought the director of The 
Wind, Victor Seastrom, was now on a level 
with D.W. Griffith. 

Lillian Gish received a standing ovation, 
and days later people were still talking of 

The Wind: a physically demanding role, 
with stunning results. 

her astonishing performance in the film. 
"It was the film event of the year," said 
George Perry of the Sunday Times. "Carl 
Davis's music was incredible. It felt as 
though the theater was collapsing. It made 
Sensurround seem a crude gimmick. Lil- 
lian Gish's performance was absolutely 

We said farewell to Miss Gish at her 
hotel while she was busy packing. Her hair 
was down, and I have seldom seen her look 
so beautiful. All of us connected with the 
event were exhausted, but Lillian Gish was 
as full of vitality as ever. "When I get back 
to New York," she joked, "I shall go to bed 
and 1 won't get up until 1984. When you 
think of me, think of me horizontal." 

When we think of her, we will think of 
her striding onto the stage of the Dominion 
to receive the acclamation of an audience 
that, thanks to her, has rediscovered its 
faith in the cinema. (1 

Kevin Brownlow is a filmmaker and film histo- 
rian. His books include The Parade's Gone By 
and "Kanolron": Abel Cance's Silent Classic. 

MARCH 1984 27 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film 



"The fetid taste of intrinsic imperfection, of behavioral mistakes endlessly 
repeated form generation to generation, find expression in the staggeringly demonic 
visual motifs recurring throughout Sirk's films of the merry-go-round, the amusement 
park ride, the circular treadmill, the vehicle that really goes nowhere, insulated 
hopeless activity, the Western frame of mind, people struggling to get outside cages 
of their own building yet encased by their own unique palpable qualities. Mirrors 
and surfaces as distancing agents (revealing yet qualifying and placing). A flight 
of stairs - stages of grace? No image or icon has a simplistic easily solvable frame 
of reference. An immediate appreciative laugh shouldn't obscure the double puns and 
triple meanings to be found in Sirk's 'outrageous' moments. A lot of them happen in 
WRITTEN ON THE WIND , probably Sirk's richest work. One will suffice. Bob Stack 
after being told by his doctor he's impotent immediately comes upon a young boy jig- 
gling furiously atop a stationary (natch) penny machine rocking horse (like Berg's 
'Wozzeck'). He's straddled around an enormous horse's head with a gleeful climactic 
smile (this in 1956 remember) totally oblivious to Stack's woes. How many ironic 
meanings can you count? Here's the son Stack will never have, performing a function 
Stack isn't up to, on a machine that isn't going anywhere anyway, but enjoying him- 
self nevertheless." — Warren Sonbert, Notes by Film-makers on Sirk , Pacific Film 


"...Nothing but defeats. This film is nothing but an accumulation of defeats. 
Dorothy is in love with Robert, Robert is in love with flying, Jiggs is in love with 
Robert too, or is it Dorothy and Rock? Rock is not in love with Dorothy and Dorothy 
is not in love with Rock. When the film makes one believe for a moment that they are, 
it's a lie at best, just as the two of them think for a couple of seconds, maybe...? 
Then towards the end Robert tells Dorothy that after this race he'll give up flying. 
Of course that's exactly when he is killed. It would be inconceivable that Robert 
could really be involved with Dorothy rather than with death. 

The camera is always on the move in the film; just like the people it moves round, 
it pretends that something is actually happening. In fact everything is so completely 
finished that everyone might as well give up and get themselves buried. The tracking 
shots in the film, the crane shots, the pans. Douglas Sirk looks at these corpses 
with such tenderness and radiance that we start to think that something must be at 
fault if these people are so screwed up and, nevertheless, so nice. The fault lies 
with fear and loneliness. I have rarely felt fear and loneliness so much as in this 
film. The audience sits in the cinema like the Shumann' son in the roundabout: we 
can see what's happening, we want to rush forward and help, but, thinking it over, what 
can a small boy do against a crashing aeroplane? They are all to blame for Robert's 
death. This is why Dorothy Malone is so hysterical afterwards. Because she knew. 

And Rock Hudson, who wanted a scoop. As soon as he gets it he starts shouting at 
his colleagues. And Jiggs, who shouldn't have repaired the plane, sits asking 'Where 
is everybody?' Too bad he never noticed before that there never really was anybody. 
What these movies are about is the way people kid themselves. And why you have to 
kid yourself. Dorothy first saw Robert in a picture, a poster of him as a daring 
pilot, and she fell in love with him. Of course Robert was nothing like his picture. 
What can you do? Kid yourself. There you are. We tell ourselves, and we want to 
tell her, that she's under no compulsion to carry on, that her love for Robert isn't 
really love. What would be the point? Loneliness is easier to bear if you keep 
your illusions. 

There you are. I think the film shows that this isn't so. Sirk has made a film 
in which there is continuous action, in which something is always happening, and the 
camera is in motion all the time , and we understand a lot about loneliness and how it 
makes us lie. And how wrong it is that we should lie, and how dumb." — R.W. Fassbinder, 
Notes by Film-makers on Sirk , Pacific Film Archives series DOUGLAS SIRK AND THE 

Recommended reading: 

SIRK ON SIRK by Jon Halliday (A Cinema One Paperback) 

DOUGLAS SIRK: THE COMPLETE AMERICAN PERIOD (Published by the University of Connecticut 

Film Society) 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

March 3U. 1985 


A 'hands-on' approach to filmmaking 
Curated by Stephanie Maxwell 


Hand-Co loured Films (15 mins, silent) by Path! Freres. Circa 1904-1910. 

A collection o f rare early Pathe Freres historical trick films all hand 

Retour a la Raison (Return to Reason) — (4 mins?, silent) bv Man Ray. 1923. 

Man Rav was one o£ the leaders of the American Dada movement in the early 
1900' s. Retour a la Raison, an ironic title for a film whose intention was 
the direct opposite in the Dadaist style of 'conscious attack on nublic sen- 
sibility', combines both photography and the techniaues of t-he 'rayogram'. This 
techniq"e involves th* 1 layinp of objects (nails, springs, dust, etc.) onto 
film and exposing it to lieht. This film is one of th*> earliest examples of 
film which draws attention to the material nature of the film itself and the 
images on it as a photochemical reality. 

Rainbow Dance (6 mins, sound) bv Len Lye. 1936. 

Len Lye is a key figure in the development of 'direct' filmmakine because 
he made his own separate discovery of the process and developed it with so much 
imagination and thoroughness that once and for all he opened this area of film- 
making for others to follow. Lye's first direct film Colour Box (1935) was 
made entirely of inscribed (scratched, nainted, drawn...) desiens dnne directly on 
the fiTm itself. Rainbow Dance follows in this tradition, but this time Lye 
experiments with live action material by maniDulating the three color matrices 
of the Gasparcolor and Technicolor processes in color film production. 

Lines Horizonta l (5 mins, sound) by Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambert. 1962. 

Lines Horizontal was made bv optically turning each frarne of their earlier 
film Linps Vertical by 90 degrees- In Lines Vertical, lines are graphed or 
engraved directly onto the film lengthwise with needles and knives and then 
colored with various dves. 

The Canaries (4 mins, sound) by Jerome Hill. 1968. 

"A lesson in love-making. Hand-painted animation on film." 

*Int emission* 

Uncle Sugar's Flying Cirrus (3 mins, sound) bv Warren Bass. 1970. 

This film (excppt for the titles) was made without a camera: using aircraft 
press-tyDe, hole punches, felt pens, film leader, and thirteen images from 
Picasso's Guernica punched out of 35mm slides and punched into film. Inspiration 
for the film derived from the 1970 U.S. bombing of Cambodia. 

Variations on a 7 Second Loop-Painting (6 mins, silent) by Barry Spinello. 1970. 

This film combines handmade imaees on film and sten-printine and optical 
manipulation processes. A seven second loop-painting of film is repeat f>d 
several fimps and then varied in texture and form throueh an optical printer. 

Memories of War fib mins, sound) bv Pierre Hebert. 1982. 

Working at the National Film Bnar^ of Canada, Hebert created this richly 
complex animat-ion that graphically reveals the intolerable dilemnas of poli- 
tiques and war. A multiplan of animat-ion techniques are used, including 
free-hand scratching of images onto film, cut-out and eel animation, as well 
as thp incorporation of live action footage inf> animated scenes through 
the use of optical printing. 

Burnt Offering (8 mins, sound) bv David Gerstein. 1976. 

Recipe: Rolls of 16mm and regular bran color and black&white unexposed film. 
Bake in o^en for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Add loops, freeze frames and blurred images with an optical printer. 
Add sound to taste. 

Circuit VII (8 mins, sound) by Gil Frishman. 1983. 

One in a series of eight films dealing with states of consciousness. This 
film is symbolized by the inevitability of immortality and interspecific symbiosis. -GF 
Live-action footage is reworked by scratching directly into the photoeranhed 
imagery frame-by-frame. 

Bloodlines (4 mins, 1984) by Mark Yellen. 1984. 

In another example of 'direct' filmmaking techniques. Mark's use of 
adhesive tape and markers gives a wild organic quality to lines drawn on film. 
The soundtrack is composed of Haitian street music and orieinal sound effects. 

Thanks to Mark Yellen for his contribution in formulating this program. 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 



Untitled (or Golf Film), 1984, 16mm, lh min. Live action using Found 
Footage manipulated by tape or "ammonia base detergent" affecting both 
image and sound . 

Untitled (contact print), 1984, 16mm, 40 sec. "Hand contact print" of 
a Found Footage manipulated beforehand and exposed several times to a 
projector bulb. 

Correspondance , 1984, 16mm, 2 min. "Hand optical print" combined with 
emulsion transfer and of super-8 segments of home movie and of 35mm slides. 

A Color Movie , 1983, super-8mm, 5 min. Direct animation and collage 
intercut with live action (self portrait). 

Untitled (or painting studio), 1984, super-8mm, 2% min. Live action com- 
bine with manipulation of the Film by bleaching or displacing the emulsion 
side and with collage of acetate or 35mm slides. 

Untitled (or Church), 1984, super-8mm, 1% min. Live action manipulated 
with "ammonia base detergent." 

A Color Sound Picture , 1984, super-8mm, 1% min. 16mm Found Footage recut 
into S-8mm and edited on the academy leader structure. (All notes by 
Cecile Fontaine.) 


Reader , 16mm, 17 min. A true love story about an idealistic love which 
goes pragmatic in the end. One of film's recurring symbols bears explanation: 
the Origami swan is a reference to an old Japanese ritual. A woman who had 
lost her husband at sea might make 1,000 Origami swans as a prayer for his 
safe return. Also, keep in mind that the girl balancing the plate on her 
head is initially striving for the love of the man on the roof. (Jenny 
Bosshard. ) 


Jestering ; Candle for Liza , both 16mm, 8 min. total. Two personal films, 
powerful in the quality of their images and simplicity of intent. 


You Go to My ; Fishnets ; Andy ; Henna ; Can't Help It ; Lizzard ; Beat 85 ; 
Restaurant , all super-8mm, 17 min. total. "Precious images separated by 
black leader" - Greg Paxton. 



Ruby's Riches , 16mm, 3 min. ; Plastic Primer , 1984, 16mm, 5% min.; Life 
Is Even Bigger Now , 16mm, 2^ min. "I treat film as a non-precious material, 
as something to handle, to collage upon, to paint over and/or to cut up 
and tape back together. In my work I deal with edges, juxtapositions, 
confrontations, layers. I tackle the painting/film polarity with 
scissors, braiding the two media together with tape. 

I look for reasons to rejoice, then I assemble the reasons, layering 
strips of film, cutting tiny single frames, cooking up new majesty. My 
films are fashioned distinctly by hand, I squeeze energy into 16 milli- 
meters, making the connections as I go. My work assumes a delight in 
the misaligned, the mathematics and the plastic in art. 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 
FILMS BY MORGAN FISHER - April 11, 1985 

1) PRODUCTION STILLS (1970), 11 min. — "A documentary about nothing but itself; 
technicians become actors, equipment is transformed into props; the reality 
that the film records is congruent only with the duration of the film." (M.F.) 

2) THE WILKINSON HOUSEHOLD FIRE ALARM (1973), 1% min. —"Anaemic cinema." 

3) PROJECTION INSTRUCTIONS (1976), 4 min. — "A score to be performed; a film that 
elevates the projectionist from passive mechanic to interpretive artist. A film 
that promotes redundancy from a dubious possibility to an absolute trategic nec- 
essity, and is shown correctly only when by conventional standards it is mis- 
carried. Nothing but text; a long overdue exaltation of the verbal." 

4) STANDARD GAUGE (1984), 35 min. — "A frame of frames, a piece of pieces, a length 
of lengths. Standard gauge on substandard; narrower, yes, but longer. An ECU 
that's an ELS. Disjecta membra ; Hollywood anthologized. A kind of autobiography 
of its maker, a kind of history of the institution of whose shards it is com- 
posed, the commercial motion picture industry. A mutual interrogation between 

35mm and 16mm, the gauge of Hollywood and the gauge of the amateur and independent." 

"My films tend to be about the making of films. I didn't programmatically set 
out to do this, it's just something that I can't seem to resist. The more 
deeply I delve into it the more inexhaustibly rich the subject becomes. The 
process by which motion pictures are produced is distressingly complex, and 
every aspect of it is to me fraught with suggestion, though of a seemingly 
bathetic sort. So my films incline to the literal and the matter-of-fact. In 
a sense they are educational in that they explain procedures or apparatus under- 
lying film production that an audience might not be familiar with. My feeling 
is that it is important for an audience to understand how it is that a film comes 
into being, where it comes from, so to speak, and what it must have undergone 
(in the material sense) before it appears before their eyes as shadows on the 
screen. People should know that these phantasms are the upshot of a ponderous 
and refactory art, If they are not aware of it they are denied the chance to 
understand film as such. 

Actually, it has always puzzled me that my films weren't done long ago. Once 
one starts to reflect on film they are for the most part obvious ideas, though 
none the less elegant. From the beginning there has been a reflexive strain in 
cinema, but it has always struck me as half-hearted, Vertov and Hellzapoppin' 
notwithstanding. Film should have taken the plunge at the outset and begun by 
looking at itself, a pursuit as worthy as the treatment of 'subjects'. Hence 
my films represent an effort to catch up, to redress an oversight committed by 
history." — Morgan Fisher, 1976 


2. LEONARD BERNSTEIN - German : Discarded out-take from Ich bin ein Anti-Star , of Evelyn 

Kunneke reciting a funeral eulogy. 

3. ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG - English : There were countless fallings then, nothing remaining 

but possible and continuous. .. 'who are you?' they kept asking me... 
gradually their real intentions became a solution; for example, 
darkness. . .suddenly there was nothing to signify! each impossibility 
was already another subject. . .1 succeeded in doubting the absence 
of suggestion; everything vanished , drifting beneath silence in one 
conversation; then there were precautions. . .they asked me where we 
had been; the highways were unfamiliar and false. . .a different 
message withdrew our return, motionless, without response, vast, 
empty; in the corridor I heard nights in the same place. . .he could 
have denied it from moment to moment without me... in mountains 
something aimed an instant of against, drawing back the exception: 
to mention the alleged obstacle: why should I? different reasons 
assumed an unknown succession, for it helped neither here nor in 
the poor substance of their recurrence. I stayed still, in spite of 
my being no longer there. ..' don' t do it' he said. . .it would have 
been difficult seeking a way, at all .. .unspoken. . .there was one 
degree of probability they left far behind. . .falling, perhaps. 

6. JOHN CAGE - Spanish : Synopsis of a soap opera scene from a television turned on by Merce 
Cunningham during the filming: He locks the door, goes to the window and 
looks out. . .people are being shot; he gazes up at her, outside the moon is 
shining- he tries another door- light comes near. . .he turns and he is outside; 
he attempts to scream, she looks at him; he climbs up the wall to the castle; 
figures emerge from the shadow of the trees; her gaze is cold and distant. . . 
the girl is calling the other girl. 

Spanish : List of colors in John Cage's kitchen: Tokyo yellow, Nile green, 
Dutch grey, Aztec brown, Chinese blue, Miami pink. 

Latvian : Parody of a talk show interview from a television turned on by 
Merce Cunningham during the filming . 

German : Re-assembled fragments of the telephone conversation between John 
Cage and a friend as. seen in the film: Thank you; are you cold? there are the 
fireworks; next time; whatever made you conduct in Munich? open this door, 
still unconscious, nothing tonight; I'm not you anymore; where? no. did she 
ask you? continue; I don't stay there; at me too; what do you leave? I began 
with permission; as many as you like; then it must be true; why not rent the 
house? silence; well, go then, good evening, i should lock the door, there 
she is. 

English : Text composed and spoken by John Cage for this film. 

Spanish : Cross-reference to the speaker in Robert Rauschenberg : 
Part 'G' - the sudden manifestation of Diana's fatigue. 

Spanish : Statement about John Cage: He abandoned imitation and description 
for statement, defiantly pulling the external into its boldness ; his inner 
world never vanished; he pursued his individuality to unforseen ends... the 
only inevitable aspect of his life was negation. 

Spanish : Commentary on the film, in the form of a coda: 

interspersed probable 

departure exchange 

particular vertical 

memory capaci ty 

implacable separate 

remoteness incomplete 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


THE WAY TO THE SHADOW GARDEN (1955) 16mm. 10 min. Experimental sound by Brakhage 

"Binding himself, a young man escapes his frightening room to enter the even more 
terrifying beauty of Shadow Garden." - Cinema 16 

"...creates a tormented, claustrophobic world... this wild study of a tortured youth 
has astonishing moments of brilliance." - Film No. 12. 

CAT'S CRADLE (1959) l6mm. 5 min. Color. Silent. 

"Sexual witchcraft involving two couples and a medium cat." - Cinema 16. 

PASHT (1965) 16mm. 5 min. Color. Silent. 

"In honor of the cat, so named, and the goddess of all cats which she was named 
after (that taking shape in the Egyptian mind of the spirit of cats), and of birth 
(as she was then giving kittens when the pictures were taken), of sex as source, 
and finally of death (as this making was the slavage therefrom and in memoriam)."- S,B. 

THREE FILMS (1965) l6mm. 10 min. Color. Silent. 

'Includes three short films: BLUE WHITE , "an intonation of child birth"; BLOOD'S 
TONE , "a golden nursing film"; VEIN , "a film of baby Buddha masturbation".* - S.B. 

THE DEAD (i960) l6mm. 11 min. Color. Silent. 

"Europe, weighted down so much with that past, was The Dead. I was always Tourist 
there; I couldn't live in it. The graveyard could stand for all my view of Europe, 
for all the concerns with past art, for involvement with the symbol. THE DEAD became 
my first work in which things that might very easily be taken as symbols were so 
photographed as to destroy all their symbolic potential. The action of making THE 
DEAD kept me alive." - S.B 


The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT (1958) l6mm. 40 min. Color. Silent. 

"The daylight shadow of a man in its movement evokes lights in the night. A rose 
bowl held in hand reflects both sun and moon like illumination. The opening of a 
doorway onto trees anticipates the twilight into the night. A child is born on the 
lawn, born of water with its promissory rainbow, and the wild rose. It becomes the 
moon and the source of all light. Lights of the night become young children playing 
a circular game. The moon moves over a pillared temple to which all lights return. 
There is seen the sleep of innocents in their animal dreams, becoming the amusement, 
their circular game, becoming the morning. The trees change color and lose their 
leaves for the morn, they become the complexity of branches in which the shadow man 
hangs himself." - S.B 

"...a film in the first person. The protagonist, like the members of the audience, 
is a voyeur, and his eventual suicide is a result of his inability to participate 
in the 'untutored' seeing experience of a child. ANTICIPATION consists of a flow of 
colors and shapes which constantly intrigues us by placing the unknown object next 
to the known in a significant relationship, by metamorphising one visual statement 
into another. Whenever Brakhage shows a shot for a second time, it gains new meaning 
through its new context and in relation to the material that has passed during the 
interval." - P. Adams Sitney. 

San Francisco Cinematheque, May 30, 1985. 
American Landscapes: 

The Wold Shadow , Stan Brakhage, 2h min. color silent. 

Pilotone Study #1 , Tom Brener, 12 min. color sound. 

Haste , Konrad Steiner, 25 min, color silent. 


Eclipse , Linda Klosky, 3 min. color 

Fearful Symmetry , Michael Wallin, 15 min. color silent. 
Wild Night in El Reno, George Kuchar, 6 min, color sound. 
Density Ramp , Jeff Rosenstock, 17 min. color sound. 

The films presented tonight are landscape/cityscape films in the surface- 
aspect of being composed of outdoor views. This alone is not the essence of a 
landscape film. Conversely, these films are not exclusively landscape films. 
They were chosen under this rubric not to categorize them, but to enhance our 
ability to enjoy them by providing a reinforcing context that highlights certain 
strengths which run parallel in all the films. These strengths involve a 
sensitivity to (outdoor) envirnments which serves various purposes of character- 
ization, namely the characterization of events, places and persons. A landscape/ 
cityscape film is predominantly made up of VIEWS, and the 'action' (which can be 
subtle or spectacular) is the ambient image and sound of a given view; that is, 
what is the background of a dramatically staged scene (in another type of film) 
is elevated to the subject of a shot. The action is 'found' as a result of 
pictoral composition. The action is 'found' in the conspiracy of camera placement 
and shutter release timing. 

In Eclipse and Wild Night in El Reno the emphasis is on a single natural event . 
In the spectacle of the thunderstorm and the total eclipse attention (and intention) 
is diverted from the presence of the filmmaker at the site of filming: he is 
reduced to the role of witness, whose subjectivity is indexed only by the singular 
vantage point and the limiting frame. The event takes place, literally takes over 
the/place. The physical space and proximate objects are transformed by the will 
of occurance, the place assumes a mood, which is not an essence of the place, but 
an episode in its existance which will pass (the darkness ebbs, the storms abates). 
The Wold Shadow comes closest of the films collected here to the methods of 
landscape painting in its non-temporality. Nothing takes place, it is our vision 
that is dynamic. Place is no longer site; sight here is unseen but the spirit is 
given a shadow in the movement away from the specific. In contrast, Haste and 
Pilotone Study #1 are not timeless, in fact they rely on the conventionalized 
representations of duration, punctuated by micro-events, in elliciting the hidden 
(invisible, inaudible, non-cinema-recordable) spirit of Place. Here the 

accumulation of many otherwise inconsequential events conjures. the characters of 
a rural midwestern neighborhood and a bygone freight-train district. 
The presence of the individual in the place with the world is reflected back by 
the sight in the highly edited films Fearful Symmetry and Density Ramp . The 
present individual takes over the images (views) from themselves and the man- 
ipulated view of a consciousness imprinted on the scene is an agitated or ominous 
or otherwise stylized and anthropomorphized vision. We see a mind doing the 
seeing in these films, actively interpreting the cityscape. 

— Konrad Steiner 

San Francisco Cinematheque, June 2, 1985 

The Early Soviet Cinema: Kuleshov's Workshop 

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks 

1924- U.S.S.R. 

Goskino. Directed by Lev Kuleshov. Script by Vsevolod I. Pudovkin and Nikolai Aseyev. 
Photographed by Alexander Levitsky. Production design by Pudovkin. With Porfiri Podobed, 
Boris Barnet, V.I. Pudovkin. 90 min. B&W. Silent 18 f .p.s 

This film was the first sucess of Lev Kuleshov's famed workshop, which was influenced 
by Meyerhold's theories. Kuleshov was himself a major film theorist and this film 
demonstrates the early use of his anti-Stanislavkian, anti-psychological acting style, 
emphasizing instead the actors appearence and movements. 

Sergei Eisenstein studied film direction in Kuleshov's Workshop, and this amusing 
comedy was made with the help of two other major Soviet Directors who also appear in it: 
V.I. Pudovkin and Boris Barnet. 

' The artist in the cinema paints with objects, walls and light.... It is almost 
unimportant what is in the shot, and it is really important to dispose these objects 
and combine them for the purpose of their final, single plane' . 

from ' The Task of the Artist in the Cinema ' 
(Vestnik Kinematografiya 1917) 

The basic technical contribution of Kuleshov, the artistic legacy that he handed over to 
Pudovkin and Eisenstein for further investment, was the discovery that there were, inherent 
in a single piece of unedited film, two strengths: its own, and the strength of its 
relation to other pieces of film. In his text book Pudovkin quotes Kuleshov as saying, 
' in every art there must firstly be a material, and secondly a method of composing this 
material specially adapted to this art, ' and Pudovkin goes on to explain: 

1 Kuleshov maintained that the material in film-work consists of pieces of film, and that 
the method of their composing is their joining together in a particular creatively 
conceived order. He maintained that film-art does not begin when the artists act and the 
various scenes are shot-this is only the preparation of the material. Film art begins 
from the moment when the director begins to combine and join together the various pieces 
of film. By joining them in various combinations, in different orders, he obtains 
differing results . ' 


Salt for Svanetia 

1930 U.S.S.R. 

Goskinprcm (Georgia) . Written and directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, frcm an idea by 

Sergei Tretyakov. Photographed by Kalatozov and M. Gegelashvili . 54 min. B&W. Silent 

The Soviet Georgian Mikhail Kalatozov was trained as a cameraman in the Kuleshov group 
and brought an eye for strong formal imagery to his films. His best known film is the 
1957 fiction feature THE CRANES APE FLYING, but his earlier SALT FOR SVANETIA is more 
important. It reports on the life of Svanetia, an isolated section of the Caucasus 
between the Black and Caspian Seas that was cut off from the world by mountains and 
glaciers except for one narrow foot path through the mountains. At the time of the 
Russian Revolution, its inhabitants were still living in the most primitive conditions, 
intensified by ignorance and superstition. Typifying the plight of the region was its 
lack of salt, without which the herds could not produce milk. The salt thus had to be 
hand-carried up the footpath from the lowlands. 

While incorporating much of Eisenstein's angular compositions and seme of Dovzhenko's 
themes and lyricism, the film often imbues its images with a biting clarity akin to 
Surrealism. As a result, it resembles in power as well as subject Buraiels later 
LAND WITHOUT BREAD (1933) . Despite its champions, among them the perceptive 
American critic Harry Alan Potamkin, this unusual masterwork has just recently 
become generally available outside the Soviet Union. 


Films by Caroline Avery 





Caroline Avery will introduce her films tonight. 

Films by Phil Solomon 


When I left New York for Boston, a friend of mine gave me a 16mm home 
movie (from the late twenties/early thirties, which he found in a pawnshop) 
as a going away gift. I spent the next year analyzing every frame of this 
wedding and honeymoon roll, becoming more and more obsessed with every social 
gesture found in all parts of any given frame. By adding overlays and 
isolating gestures into discreet rhythms, I began (through a reversed 
excavation) to discover the hidden narrative. The Brides and the Bachelors 
transubstantiating into their various guises of male and female, light and dark, 
compression and rarefaction; a Gothic horror tale of bonding and freedom. 


With material culled from various home movies (mine and others) , I 
began to make a film as a note in a bottle about an evaporating friendship. 
The film gradually began to veer off into other disappearances surrounding 
me at the time. Images of (different) women tempered and shaped by using 
the film's surface texture as a kind of emotional weather (inspired by 
Wallace Stevens' use of the metaphor of weather). An attempt to repair 
the darkened lighthouse under adverse conditions. 


A long time ago, my sister introduced me to the patterns of refracted 
light that formed in the textured window of our bathroom; she called this 
the Magic World of Paloopa. I spent many hours in that bathroom moving 
my head around abd watching these beings arise and disappear into melting 
landscapes. I credit these adventures with sparking my interest in film. 

The Secret Garden is a Griffith-style children's story, which takes 
place inside a young boy's fever dream (after his birthday party) on one 
Easter Sunday, in the middle of the night..... 

~..' ■• Films by Phil Solomon (continued) 

WINTERSKIN ( A sketch for a Work in Progress) 

I have been thinking about a.nd trying to make a film portrait of my 
parents for many years. For the past three years, I have been watching my 
mother slowly disappear inside herself, as her illness has radically changed 
the lives of both of my parents. WINTERSKIN is an urgent attempt for me 
to confront my own feelings of helplessness and distance (geo and emotional) 
in the tones and movement of the photographed moment, rather than through 
the various formal 'treatments' of my other work. 

I am presenting a brief silent sketch of this film tonight (I expect 
the finished' film to be much longer, with sound) as it is the most current 
expression of my needs in filmmaking. The brief landscape shots which bridge 
certain sequences were photographed during the various trips to see my family- 
and were usually the only moments when I could be alone . 

Audio tapes played tonight during intermission by Phil Solomon. 

•"»* *.'.». ■-.- 

L Khouyfedge «s as i^ed a? tx. raspbeimy 

Ih f^iS film, i wanted to represent luomens temp^na-rvre 
■ranges a^d the stream of time, 

I cuv> interested in wamevfc temperature as Tf Chtfn^eS by cycles. 
(/hen 1 tfinlc abeat sc/ch a delrcare const-? ttcKon of uuomehs bod/, 
J. cannot help thinkimg about me lender- of natime. The 
TOCLtfor^ip between. WDmens body and -fine St-reayn of tfm£ iS 
Ijhterestmg to me- I made •Hits -fflm asmi fh>s rde^t. 

b A wandering Story 

|r.. Th^ 6 a * ln * s u/hidn made me stOH: to wakt. fhrs 

**"" € ^ ^ J<^pa_nese thadi>icnaJ Story pattern that 

JU/eom-Ffnd rn many my+h or novels. A man of noble b;N-n 

\S ex, led cu.d rs u/^denrmj , but he is always helped by 
|a WomcDn U/ta is connected to u;ateh SomehouJ . Mam, 

Stores use me Same pattern of ei/c*+5. It was interest^ 

tome mat many Japanese Storres Kai/e tradrtionaily shared 
jfbis bnd of r4t* about me heialnonsh? p between a ma-n 

and a u/oma.n. 
I TV second one is my uncles Aeath. We dfed of a heart 
-attack. Lohfle he was tM*ndeWn$ and u/a! kim9 oh an upward 
P Slope. I always felt mat he iA/as Somehow relate to the 
gvrveh m -fW Torres and 1 wanted to ima^ne what he 

Sauj be -fore he d. v ed. 

p it is drffreult to explarn how these 2. +fnhgS are connected 

to eadndrfheir, Kowcuer L thfed to represent my feeUngs 
P U/P-fK my -Pilwi p 

| On the Sound track , I ^OS reading noteS K/h?cb I toofc 

at a lecture abaut Japanese mythology I went to Tn. 
P Ja^an. . 


The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


September 22, 1985 




* 30 Turns III by Roy Ramsing and Jacalyn White, 1985, mixed-media installation 

* People Who Dream by Scott Stark, 1985, mixed-media installation 

Asiam, As I Am by Toney Merritt, 1982, 6 min. , silent 

Eucalyptus by Gary Adkins , 1977, 7 min., silent 

Basic Elements by Diane Kitchen, 1984, 5^ min., silent 

Let's Be Pals by James Irwin, 1985, 7h min., silent 

Non Legato by Michael Rudnick, 1984, 6 min., sound 

Agriculture, Part 1 by Medora Ebersole, 1981-84, 8h min., sound 

Story Of The Pig by James Oseland, 1984, 7 min. 

Passing Through by Willie Varela, 1985, super-8mm, 7 min., silent 
Fireside by Konrad Steiner, 1983, 11 min., silent 
Right Eye/Left Eye by Janis Crystal Lipzin, 1983, 6 min., sound 

As The Sun Goes Down, A Hole Appears In The Sky by David Gerstein, 1976, 11 min., sound 
Honeymoon In Reno by Dominic Angerame, 1983, 4 min., sound 
Masquerade by Larry Jordan, 1981, 5 min., sound 
The Mongreloid by George Kuchar, 1978, 10 min., sound 

Strong Willed Women Subdue and Subjugate Reptiles by C Larry Roberts, 1982, 11 min., 

The Cinematheque would like to thank all of the filmmakers invovled ii^onight's 
screening for the generous donation of their work. The next issue of Cinematograph 
will be on sale in early May of 1986. 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


September 28, 1985 

1) The Garden Of Earthly Delights (1981), 2h min., color, silent, 18 f.p.s. 
"This film (related to Mothlight ) is a collage composed entirely of montage 

zone vegetation. As the title suggests it is an homage to (but also argu- 
ment with) Hieronymous Bosch. It pays tribute as well, and more naturally 
to "The Tangled Garden" of J.E.H. MacDonald and the flower paintings of 
Emil Nolde." (S.B.) 

2) Nodes (1981), 3min., color, silent, 24 f.p.s. 

'"nodus knot, node — more at NET)... 4a: a point at which subsidiary parts origin- 
ate or center... 5: a point, line, or surface of a vibrating body that is free 
or relatively free from vibratory motion. 1 In the tradition of Skein this 
hand-painted film is the equivalent of cathexis concepts given me by Sigmund 
Freud (in his "Interpretation of Dreams"), 30 years ago, finally realizing 
itself as vision. (Quote:Web. 7th)" (S.B.) 

3) RR (1981), 8 min., color, silent, 24 f.p.s. 

"This film is a mix of landscape images seen from train windows and the patterned 
shapes and shifting tones of moving- visual- thought thus prompted; it was 
inspired by Robert Breer's Fuji ." (S.B.) 

4) Unconscious London Strata (1982), 22 min., color, silent, 24 f.p.s. 

"This film photographed London in 1979, finished in January of 1982, is an 
exploration into the depths of unconscious reactions. Having been in London 
with Stan when he photographed it , I find this a deeply accurate memory- 
piece. Not 'That's how it looked to me,' but rather 'That's how it felt!' 
There are many new techniques in this film, new grammar. It is a very rich 
lode." — Jane Brakhage 

"While visiting London England (dream of my youth) and wishing to be simply 
camera-tourist (taking pics, of exotic architectural arrangements imagined 
since earliest Dickens, etc.) I found myself forced, yes forced* , to photo- 
graph, rather, the nearest equivalent to the NON-pictorial workings of my 
mind which these London scenes, before my eyes and camera lens, would afford — 
each scenic possibility distorted from any easily identifiable picture to some 
laborious reconstruction of the mind's eye at the borders of the unconscious. 
It was two years before I could even begin to edit ; and then some visual-song 
of all of England's history began to move thru this material, fashioning it in 
some way 'kin to that music of Pierre Boulez which is at one with the poetry 
of Rene Char — this plus the English 'round', song and dance... only (as is 
true to my thought process then, in England, and now in memory) the rounds are 
within rounds, round and around, all (as many as 7 interspersed thoughts con- 
tinuing the orders of shots) interwoven." (S.B.) 

5) Creation ( 1979), 17 min., color, silent, 24 f.p.s. 

"...almost like the Earth itself — the green ice covered rocks, the slicing 
feeling, the compressive feeling of the glaciers. The whole time I was 
watching I kept thinking that you were a master of the North, the arctic 
landscape — the dark red flowers in the dusky light, the deep blue light, 
the tall trees with the running mists, and Jane looking. . .the ice, the 
water, the moss, the golden light. A visual symphony..." — Hollis Melton 

6) Egyptian Series (1984), 20 min., color, silent, 24 f.p.s. 
Notes currently unavailable. 

ine hounUauon tor Ail in cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 
September 29, 1985 THE MAGIC OF MELIES — Selected films by Georges Melies 

1) The Conjuror , 1896, 4 min. 

2) The Eclipse , 1907, 8 min. 

3) The Melomaniac , 1903, 4 min. 

4) The Monster , 1903, 4 min. 

5) The Terrible Turkish Executioner , 1904, 6 min. 

6) The Inn Where No Man Rests , 1903, 5 min. 
"/) An Astronomer's Dream , 1898, color, 9 min. 

8) The Kingdom Of The Fairies , 1903, 12 min. 


9) The Apparition, or Mr. Jones' Comical Ex perience With a Ghost , 1903, 4 min. 

10) The Palace Of The Arabian Nighr .s , 1105- 10 min., color 

11) Baron Munchausen's Dream , 1911, 12 min. 

12) The Conquest Of The Pole , 1912, 12 min. 

f ^ 
"Georges Melies has long suffered the indignity of being considered the cinema's 

venerable grandpa, kindly, amusing, but largely irrelevant. The young men of today 
have preferred to come to grips with the 'fathers' of the medium. The reactionary 
philosophy (masquer-^iin^ -is ' human:' Sin ')... *.aV.ej» the..^ i-atural candidates for all 
that oedipal curiosity. itaanwhile. M/lies '3 known as the mechanic who invented 
all those clever tricks but who wasn't bright enough to move the camera about, or 
as the clown whose theatrical narratives, though picturesque, are childish and 
largely insignificant. His greatest claim to their attention has been that he in- 
fluenced Edwin S. Porter. 

Rather, we have shown that Melies ' 'weaknesses ' are his great strengths; that 
his relentless style, unbroken by montage but enlivened by spectacular camera 
tricks, is admirably effective in inducing a condition of absent- and open-minded- 
ness propitious for the reception of his poetic imagery, because it is childish, 
is bursting with vitality, operating in that dynamic area of tension and release, 
of dislocation and relocation that we call the marvellous. 

The inclination that Melies felt to make detail the focus of his work is not a 
limitation. Instead it suggests a way of looking at cinema as a medium only as 
valuable as its occasional revelatory image. The wider framework of narrative 
structure we discard without reservation or guilt in favour of the metamorphic, 
the erotic and the humorous image." — Paul Hammond', Marvellous Melies 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

1) NOH TIGER (1982) by Wendy Blair, super 8mm, 4 min. , b&w, silent. 

"A tiger, once in motion, is now stilled and fragmented. An incomplete record 
of time. Serene with age, a Noh mask offers a history of rural and illusion 
as time's voice. In the shadows, in the movement, there is time — observant 
and elusive." (W.B.) 

2) BUDAPEST PORTRAIT (1984) and LENIN PORTRAIT (1981-82) by Peter hutton, 20 min. 
and 10 min., b&w and color, silent. 

Hutton was brought to Budapest by the Hungarian government to make a personal 
portrait of Hungarian life and culture, a move unprecedented since its Commun- 
ist alliance. Prints of both films shown tonight are final work-prints, which 
the filmmaker. has consented to show since final release remains unclear. 

3) TRACY'S FAMILY FOLK FESTIVAL (1983) by Bill Brand, 10 min., color, sound. 
"The film is an impression of the 1982 folk festival at the Tracy and Eloise 
Schwarz farm in Central Pennsylvania. The festival, which was dedicated to 
Elizabeth Cotton (author of "Freight Train"), includes Bluegrass , Old Timey, 
Cajun, Country, and Gospel music." (B.B.) 


4) AR EA PREDICTOR (1983) by Bill Baldewicz , regular 8mm, 6 min., color, silent. 
"This film, shot with the aid of a 5-cent item from an army surplus store, 
subtlely illustrates the areal extent of contamination by radioactive materials 
expected from small nuclear weapons — up to 1 megaton (1 MT) bombs. Before 

it became surplus, the 5-cent "area predictor" was intended for use as an 
overlay on military maps. The film, too, uses maps along with camera-leak 
"blasts" to suggest nuclear warfare. 

The film alludes to the often overlooked fact that the greatest damage likely 
to result from nuclear-power industrial accidents is not direct destruction 
of life and property, but rather, extensive land and water contamination by 
low, but unsafe, levels of radioactivity. The same statement may also be true 
for nuclear weapons exploded in areas of low population." (B.B.) 

5) KALEIDOSCOPE (1935) and COLOUR FLIGHT (1938) by Len Lye, 8 min., colour, sound. 
These are "direct" films — that is, films made without a camera. Lye painted 
colorful designs onto celluloid, matching them to dance music. Music: 
"Biguine d'Amour" (Don Baretto and his Cuban Orchestra, Kaleidoscope ) ; 
"Honolulu Blues" (Red Nichols and his Five Pennies, Colour Flight ) . 

23 min., colour, sound. 

"This film is a chronicle of a visit I made in 1977 to Romania to experience 
three of Brancusi's most famous sculptures: "The Endless Column"; "The Gate 
Of The Kiss": "The Table of Silence". These works are in the small, rural 
town of Tirgu Jiu, not far from the village of Hobitza (where Brancusi was 
born and spent his childhood) . These works are shown in photographs and dis- 
cussed as totally autonomous "abstract" sculptures simply placed conveniently 
around the town; but, in fact, they are also parts of a larger and very 
specific environmental (and symbolic) motif. Their placement suggests a 
metaphysical continuum; they span the boundaries of the town and while aligned 
in a (virtual) straight line, a-1 three cannot be seen from any single point 
of view, so there is a temporal unfolding as one moves through the town to 
experience the relationship. 



The works were commissioned to commemorate the persons from the area who had 
died in World War I, and the peace and the flow of life were to be suggested. 
Brancusi placed the "Endless Column" on the outskirts of the town and "The 
Table Of Silence" on the opposite end of town in the park, very near the 
River Jiu. "The Gate of the Kiss" is the entry to the park. In the middle 
of the town there is a church; all the sculptures are aligned through this 
center. The very arrangement of the pieces suggest themes of sexuality, 
the dance of life and the circularity of existence. 

"The Table of Silence" I see in part as a spacial-circular embodiment of the 
endless temporal-linear flowing of the river it is placed next to. Stephen 
Georgescu-Gorgon, who worked with Brancusi erecting the works, recalls that 
Brancusi ..."once explained to me that it was intended for the 'hungry ones', 
who came back from their daily work in the fields and sat round it 'in silence' 
to have their only meal. Hence the "Table of Silence"." (P.S.) 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 


Karen Holmes: RETURNING THE SHADOW , 22 min. (1985) world premiere 

"Examines the tension between the image that is recorded 
in a photograph and what is remembered. The film creates 
its own internal memory as it achieves a reconciliation 
of past and present. 

The film is based on and around 5 photographs , taken 
sometime in the early 1940s. In trying to find an identity 
for these people, elements of the photographs are isolated 
and extended in visual associations: a crumpled quilt 
on the bed in one photograph resembles rippling water. 
The film is constructed in a way that allows the viewer 
to contribute his/her experience during the film in an 
„ effort to find the identity of the characters and possibly, 
to reflect on one's own identity." (K.H.) 

Stephanie Beroes: VALLEY FEVER , 20 min. (1979) 

Inspired by Merleau-Ponty 's statement, "there is a 
perpetual uneasiness in the state of being conscious", 
this film has to do with questions of perception, the 
way we see things. In an experimental, non-narrative 
context, the film presents a man and a woman who carry 
on a disjunctive conversation, superficially about the 
effects of illness on perception, actually about their 
mutual inability to percieve the world from any other 
than a personal viewpoint. They set up a projector and 
show each other footage of their respective hallucinations 
under the influence of fever- images of the desert, palms, 
swimming pools, and the American suburban landscape. 
The hallucination sequences make a lyrical counterpoint 
to the formal, structured lipsync sequences." (S.B) 

Janice Lipzin: TREPANATIONS , super-8mm, 20 min. (1983) 

"A film made up of various kinds of correspondece-pictorial, 
written, and audio tape "letters" sent to the filmmaker 
by friends. The soundtrack is the dominant element and was 
constructed from excerpts from the tape correspondence 
of a contemporary woman photographer. She describes the 
madness of her daily life in moods vacillating between 
delight and despair. Her experiences, while uniquely 

her own, function as a magnifier through which we all 
can see our own situations and strongly identify with 
hers. The title describes a delicate cranial operation 
performed in prehistoric cultures." (J.L.) 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

November 17, 1985 

"The most impressive avant-garde filmmaker of the 1970 's was George Landow 
(a.k.a. Owen Land). Since 1969, when he released Institutional Quality and 
thereby found a place for his astonishing verbal wit in his cinema, he has 
produced a coherent body of aggressively original films and has asserted, through 
those films, a unique position in opposition to the very genre in which he works. 
Many of his most exciting films contain an elaborate network of allusions and 
quotations. Primary among the references are earlier Landow films. When he mocks 
and criticizes dimensions of his own artistic aspirations, the film-maker cau- 
tiosly offers us sly hints about his earlier intentions and their pitfalls." 

P. Adams Sitney 


Diploteratology or Bardo Follies , 1967, 7 min. 

"His remarkable faculty is as maker of images... the images he photographs 
are among the most radical, super-real, and haunting images the cinema 
has ever given us." - P. Adams Sitney 

The Film That Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter , 1968, 94 min. 

A breakthrough film in the American cinema, one of the first that calls 
attention to the conditions of its own making and existence. 

Remedial Reading Comprehension , 1970, 5 min. 

"One of the ways that Remedial Reading Comprehension works is in the degree 
of filmic distance which each image has in the film. Distance here refers 
to the degree of awareness on the part of the viewer that the image he is 
watching is a film image rather than 'reality'. Landow's film does not 
try to build up an illusion of reality... It works rather toward the op- 
posite end, to make one aware of the unreality, the created and mechanical 
nature, of film." - Fred Camper 

What's Wrong with This Picture?: I/II , 1972, 10% min. 

"An excercise in combining a documented segment of a real occurence with 
structural elements. The film becomes a study of speech patterns. There 
is, on several levels, a play on the difference between film mechanics and 
video electronics." - Owen Land 

Thank You Jesus for the Eternal Present I , 1973, 6 min. 

A Film of Their 1973 Spring Tour Commissioned by Christian World Liberation 
Front of Berkeley, California (a.k.a. Thank You Jesus for the Eternal Present, 
Part 2 ) , 1974, 11 min. 

Wide Angle Saxon , 1975, 22 min. 

"...Earl's memory is so full of images that he confuses the face of the 
young woman from the shoe repair shop with the images in the experimental 

film that he saw at the Walker Art Center, and imagines red paint being 
poured on her face." - Owen Land 

"This is the truth about Wide Angle Saxon ; when it is most ridiculous, 
when it gets its biggest laughs, is when it is most in earnest." - P. Adams 

No Sir, Orison , 1975, 3 min. 

"Orison means prayer. The title of the film is a palindrome, that is, 
it reads the same backward or forward. The film grew out of an attempt 
to create a structure around my first original palindrome, 'no sir, orison', 
written while working on Wide Angle Saxon ." - Owen Land 

New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals 

a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops , 1976, 10 min. 

"A reworking of an earlier film, Institutional Quality , in which the same 
test was given. In the earlier film the person taking the test was not 
seen, and the film viewer in effect became the test taker. The newer 
version concerns itself with the effects of the test on the test taker." 

On the Marriage Broker Joke as Cited by Sigmund Freud in Wit and its Relation 
to the Unconscious or Can the Avant -Garde Artist be Wholed , 1980, 20 min. 

"Two Pandas, who exist only because of textual error, run a shell game for 
the viewer in an environment with false perspectives. They posit the 
existence of various films and characters, one of which is interpreted by 
an academic as containing religious symbolism. Sigmund Freud's own 
explanation is given by a sleeper awakened by an alarm clock." - P. Adams 


Noli Me Tangere , 1983, 6 min. 

"In this first videotape by Landow, an important avant-garde filmmaker, 
sexual and technological anxieties converge in a single obsessive image. 
Amy Taubin 

The Box Theory, 1984 


PROGRAM NO. 1, 7:30 p.m. 

Film Performance by D & S and the Real Time Art Show 

Violent by Sal Giammona 

Denizens of the See by Michael Rudnick and Mike Henderson 

The Dyed Again by Mark Sterne 

Go Like This by Rock Ross 

Hotel Capri by George Kuchar 

Fuckin' Hawaii by Dean Snider 

Return to Infancy by Dean Snider 

5 minute intermission 

Fear Is What You Find by James Irwin 

Goblin Valley by Andrej Zdravic 

Black Heat by Chuck Hudina 

Poor Young People by Medora Ebersole 

Phone Film Portraits by Dominic Angerame 

In the Company of Women by Jacalyn White 

In Progress by Willie Varela 

Evil Comes to Eden by James Oseland 

An Installation for Ellen Zweig by Janis Lipzin (film installation) 


PROGRAM NO. 2, 9:30 p.m. 

Film Watchers by Herb de Grasse, hand signing by Eve Silverman 

Aquation by Marian Wallace 

Tone Poem by Mike Kuchar 

Foot 'Age Shoot-Out by Kurt Kren 

Untitled by Margaret White 

Shot Reverse Shot; An Intercourse with Film by Barbara Coley 

11/9/85/Las Vegas/Envy by Scott Stark 

Fragment by Ellen Gaine 

Spleen Part 1 Artifices by Peter Herwitz 

Via Rio by Dana Plays 

The Illusion Machine Experienced by Jan Novel lo 

Document Unearthed in the Northwest Territory by Jack Walsh 

5 minute intermission 

The Doll & the Buffaloes by Mike Henderson & Michael Rudnick 

Jeaneret's House by Scott Frankel 

To the Spirit in the Sky by Mark Sterne 

Light at the End of the Tunnel by Jerome Carolfi 

The Night Could Last Forever by Dean Snider 

Projection Piece by Bruce Conner 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

December 5, 1985 


Babette Mangolte in Person 

The Sky on Location (1982), 78 minutes. 

Script, photography, editing: Babette Mangolte. Music: Ann Hankinson. 
Voices: Bruce Boston, Honora Ferguson, Babette Mangolte. Camera Assis- 
tant: Ralph Chaney, Mark Daniels, Neil Harvey. Editing Assistant: 
Maureen Judge. Location Sound: Ralph Chaney. A co-production between 
Babette Mangolte and ZDF Television, West Germany. 

The Sky on Location is a 78 minute color exploration of, rumination on land- 
scape, produced for German television. It presents visual records of a series 
of trips through various parts of the far West: from the Colorado Rockies to 
Glacier Park, across the Great Sandy Plain to Death Valley, across the Great 
Divide Basin to the Green River, through the Cascades — Mt . Hood, Mt . St. Helens, 
to the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula; back to the Southwest and Yosemite. 
No people are seen in the film except, implicitly, those travelling in a train 
seen in one image, in the giant trucks exploiting the lumber felled by the ex- 
plosion at Mount St. Helens, and those mentioned on the soundtrack. The sound 
track includes environmental sound and some music, and three voices which 
regularly add bits of personal, historical and aesthetic context. The 
obviously directed and scripted formality of the three voices is so detached 
from the imagery (we do not feel we're travelling with these people, or even 
that we're eavesdropping on their excursions) that we are forced to do more 
than "get into" the beauty and awesomeness of the places Mangolte films: we 
must also focus on the (past and present) meanings and implications of imagining 
such spaces in painting (Mangolte specifically thanks Barbara Novak's Nature and 
Culture , a study of 19th century American landscape painting) photography, and film. 

BM: From the beginning the film was meant to be without any people at all. But 
after I saw the footage from the summer, I said, "That's unbearable; I need to 
have once or twice an element of scale." Because everything appeared to be at 
the same distance. Whether you use a telephoto shot of a mountain or a wide 
angle shot, you're always very far away from the mountain, if you see it at all. 
If you are on it or near it, you see only a section of the mountain. The space 
is so open that there is never any foreground to give you perspective. That's 
what fascinated me in the subject matter. I thought about it in 1975 when I 
went on a bus tour to visit the West . The other thing the film was about from 
the beginning was the difference in color from north to south — geography made 
visual through color and light. I discovered that the light shifts so radically 
that a certain element of drama was possible. The Sky is not about nature as 
backdrop, but more about the idea of wilderness, which I've discovered is so 
ingrained in American culture, but totally bewildering to Europeans. I don't 
even know a French word you could use to translate the idea. I am Americanized 
enough now to identify with it. Travelling alone, or with one assistant, through 
those places helped me understand. But Europe lost the sense of wilderness 
centuries ago. It's so much more crowded. There is no area which is not put to 
some use, and which is not crossed by roads. Even the tops of the mountains are 
not really secluded. And you don't have that sense of space..." (From an inter- 
view with Scott MacDonald, AFTERIMAGE, Summer 1984.) 

"The film attempts to construct a geography of land from North to South, East and 
West and seasons to seasons through colors instead of maps." - Babette Mangolte 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 
Sunday, December 8, 1985 - FILMS BY MARJORIE KELLER 

1) She/Va (1973), 8mm, 3 min. 

2) By 2's and 3's: Women (1974), 8mm, 7 min. 

3) The Web (1977), 8mm, 10 min. 

Three early 8mm films in which women and children appear. I learned how 
to edit in the making of She/Va . It's the first film of mine that I con- 
sidered finished. By 2's and 3's: Women still strikes me as an angry film. 
You may not see that in it because it looks like a travel diary, a land- 
scape film. I remember thinking that if I could have edited it with a 
hatchet, I would have. And in The Web I delved for the first and only 
time into film as mischief -making; wicked, like a child. 

4) The Answering Furrow (1985), 16mm, 27 min. 

Owing to Virgil's Georgics , translated by Thomas Carlysle. With assistance from 
Hollis Melton and Helene Kaplan. Music: Charles Ives, Sonata for Violin and 
Piano //4 ("Children's Day at the Camp Meeting") and Ambrosian Chant (Cappella 
Musicale del Duomo di Milano) . Filmed in Yorktown Heights, New York; St. Remy 
en Provence, France; Mantua, Rome and Brindisi, Italy; and in Arcadia and the 
island of Kea in Greece. I would like to thank Saul Levine for making this 
screening possible. 

Georgic I 

In which the filmmaker depicts the annual produce 
first seen in spring - The furrowed earth ready for 
planting - The distribution, support and protection 
of young plants - The implements of the garden. 

Georgic II 

In which the life of Virgil is recapitulated in summer, 
with a digression on the sacred - The sheep of Arcadia - 
The handling of bees - The pagan Lion of Kea. 

Georgic III 

In which the filmmaker presents the skill and industry 
of the old man in autumn - Ancient custom and modern 
method - The use of the implements of the garden. 

Georgic IV 

In which the compost is prepared at season's end - 
The filmmaker completes The Answering Furrow with 
the inclusion of her own image. 

A note on the music: 

The music works with the image to parallel the trace of history. Ives 
recalls Protestant hymns, they recall the origin of the hymn in Milanese music 
of the 12th century, which allows for that music closest (in my experience of 
recording and making this film) to the hum of bees and the hum of amplifiers, 

the Orthodox Greek chant. 

— Notes by Mariorie Keller 

[he San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Cinematheque and Intersection present: 

X ($T) 

WEDNESDAY, November 7 

9 p.m. 

Jean-Francois Bory 

Victor Hernandez Cruz 


Andrei Codrescu 

Andrea Dace 

Charles Amirkhanian 

Gherasim Luca 

Lyn Hejinian 

Jim Pomeroy 

Barbara Smith 

Idris Ackamoor/Rhodessa Jones 

THURSDAY, November 8 

9 p.m. 

Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux 

Amy Elliott 

Eleanor Antin 

Michael Sumner 

Mark Scown/Harald Dunnebier 

Al Wong 

Marsha Vdovin 

Carolee Schneemann 

Chuck Z 

Monica Gazzo 

Joel Hubaut 

FRIDAY, November 9 

SATURDAY, November 10 

9 p.m. 

Michael Shay/Stephen Perkins 

Slick Ric Salinas 

Guilia Niccolai 

Scott MacLeod/Jeanne Gallo 

Michael Peppe 

Bernard Heidsieck 

Larry Wendt 

Jerome Rothenberg/Bertram Turetzky 

Tim Badger/Clifford Hunt 

Armand Schwerner 

9 p.m. 

Jacqueline Cahen 

Jim Petrillo/Betsy Davids 

John Marron 

Nanos Valaoritis 

Opal Palmer/Deborah Majors 

Anne Tardos 

Michael McClure 

Jackson Mac Low 

Stephen Vincent/Steve Wilson/Ann Hankinson 

Greg Goodman 

Ellen Zweig 

Terry Allen 

Funded in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, The San F»ancisco Hotel 
Tax Fund, The Zellerbach Family Fund, The Italian Institute of Culture of San 
Francisco and The French Government. 

P0LYH0NIX 8: Director, Ellen Zweig; Assistant Director, Scott MacLeod; Public 
Relations Director, Marsha Vdovin; Production Coordinator, Andrea Dace; Reception/ 
Fundraising, Amy Elliott 

Sound Engineers: David Mighell, Roxanne Merryfield 
Photos by Michael Shay 

Special Thanks to: Jean-Jacques 
(Kulchur Foundation), The French 
Francisco and the Center for Expe 
Francisco State University, Steve 
Beau Takahara, Lilian Gendler (St 
(KPFA), CO-LAB Theatre and Galler 
Janis Crystal Lipzin, Carmen Vigi 
Ackley, Wanda Hansen, William Dav 
Spurr, Roberto Bedoya, Francesca 

Lebel, Jacqueline Cahen, Lita and Morton Hornick 
Cultural Service of The French Consulate of San 
rimental and Interdisciplinary Arts at San 

Anker, Maryse Berniau, Kathy Brew, Robert White, 
owaway Travel), Russ Jennings and Susan Stone 
y, Tomasina, John McBride, Jurek and Beata Zahorska, 
1, George Lakoff, Jim Hartz, Lise Swenson, Bruce 
enport, Greg McKenna, David Gerstein, Catherine 
Valente, Calvin Ahlgren, Mark Scown and Vivian 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film 

Saturday, April 7, 1985 

" INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER " by Kenneth Anger (1969) 16mm 11 min<, 

(hand-tinted color) 

"Kenneth Anger, more than any other avant=garde film-maker, 
is the conscious artificer of his own myth. . . For him more than 
for any other avant-garde film-maker Hollywood is both his matrix 
and the adversary... Invocation of My Demon Brother ... marks a 
stylistic change and a refinement of Anger's Romanticism. . . The 
early films of Anger observe for the most part the classical unit- 
ies of time and space and tend to have clearly defined beginnings, 
middles, and ends... In Invocation (he) still utilizes the off- 
screen look as a formal fixture? one can distinguish an introduc- 
tion and a conclusion. But nevertheless the film marks a radical 
step for him in the direction of open form, where montage does not 
depend on the illusion or the suggestion of spatial and temporal 
relationship between shots... In Invocation of My Demon Brother , 
Anger continues to glorify the creative imagination as he does in 
all of his films, but he extends the rhetoric of metamorphoses 
and universal analogy beyond the transformations of Inauguration 
of the Pleasure Dome and the dialectical metaphors of Scorpio 
Rising into a "web of correspondences, a rhetoric of metamorpho- 
ses in which everything reflects everything else," ... 

"In Invocation Anger combines material from the original Luci - 
fer Rising , a document of the Eguinox of the Gods ritual he per- 
formed the night the film was stolen, a helicopter landing in 
Vietnam, footage of the Rolling Stones, alchemical tattoos. For 
the first time he uses anamorphic photography. . . 

"The film moves among levels of reality, suggesting that one 
image is the signature of another. It is Anger's most metaphys- 
ical film; here he eschews literal connections, makes the images 
jar against one another, and does not create a center of gravity 
through which the collage is to be interpreted... Thus deprived 
of a center of gravity, every image has egual weight in the film; 
and more than ever before in an Anger film, the burden of synthesis 
falls upon the viewer. 

"...It is very much a part of the aspiration of Invocation of 
My Demon Brother to get beyond the limitations of cinema and di- 
rectly into the head. . . . Invocation is... an investigation of the 
aesthetic guest through occult rhetoric. What makes this film... 
difficult ... is the film-maker's new use of his art as an instru- 
ment of discovery. The film is about the concentration of the 
imagination and indirectly about the power of art to achieve it... 
Watching the film, one feels that the film-maker did not know what 
the film was to be until it was finished..." * 

* P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film , New York: Oxford University Press, 
1974, pp. 128-135. 

" HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC FEATUR E" by Harry Smith (1950s) 16mm 

66 min . 

"I must say that I'm amazed, after having seen the black-and- 
white film (#12) last night, at the labor that vent into it. It 
is incredible that I had enough energy to do it. Most of my mind 
was pushed aside into some sort of theoretical sorting of the 
pieces, mainly on the basis that I have described: First, I col- 
lected the pieces out of old catalogues and books and whatever; 
then I made up file cards of all possible combinations of them; 
then, I spent maybe a few months trying to sort the cards into 
logical order. A script was made for that. All the script and 
the pieces were made for a film at least four times as long. 
There were wonderful masks and things cut out. Like when the dog 
pushes the scene away at the end of the film, instead of the 
title "end" what is really there is a transparent screen that has 
a candle burning behind it on which a cat fight begins - shadow 
forms of cats begin fighting. Then, all sorts of complicated 
effects; I had held these off. The radiations were to begin at 
this point. Then Noah's Ark appears. There were beautiful scratch- 
board drawings, probably the finest drawings I ever made - really 
pretty. Maybe 200 were made for that one scene. Then there's a 
graveyard scene, when the dead are all raised again. What actually 
happens at the end of the film is everybody's put in a teacup, be- 
cause all kinds of horrible monsters came out of the graveyard, 
like animals that folded into one another. Then everyone gets 
thrown in a teacup, which is made out of a head, and stirred up. 
This is the Trip to Heaven and the Return, then the Noah's Ark, 
then The Raising of the Dead, and finally the Stirring of Every- 
one in a Teacup. It was to be in four parts. The script was 
made up for the whole works on the basis of sorting pieces. It 
was exhausting ly long in its original form. When I say that it 
was cut, mainly what was cut out was, say, instead of the little 
man bowing and then standing up, he would stay bowed down much 
longer in the original. The cutting that was done was really a 
correction of timing. It's better in its original form." * 

"Smith's use of chance coincides with his idea of the mantic func- 
tion of the artist. He has said, 'My movies are made by God; I 
was just the medium for them. ' The chance variations on the basic 
imagistic vocabulary of the film provides yet another metaphor be- 
tween his film and the Great Work of the alchemists... The viewer 
of No. 12 ( Heaven and Earth Magic Feature ) finds himself confront- 
ed with repetitive scenes of preparation - an egg hatches a hammer, 
which changes a machine, which will produce a liguid, etc. - toward 
a telos that brings us back to the beginning. The characters of 
the film end up precisely as they were at the beginning. Every- 
thing returns to its place of origin." ** 

" EL ESPECTO ROJO " (1929-30) 22 min. ("Th e Red Specter ") 

Produced by the Pathe Brothers (possibly by Melies), this hand- 
tinted fantasy depicts the incarnation of the devil, who color- 
fully performs miraculous transformations. 

* P. Adams Sitney, "Harry Smith Interview," Film Culture #37, 

(Summer 1965), p. 5 
•* P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Filmy op. cit . 


The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

ine rounaauon ror Art in Cinema 


Random Operations in Film 

Though we like to think there is sense and order in the world it often appears 
that there is none. In July, 1984, in a suburb of San Diego, a man walked into a 
McDonald's restaurant armed with a small arsenal and motivelessly murdered twenty 
people whom he had never met. Two weeks later a retired carpenter from the Bronx 
won twenty million dollars in a lottery. We talk of the role of chance in these 
things, but the word "chance" is actually a convenient way to describe the complex 
interactions of events, emotions and the lumbering momentum of time that bring 
things together in a way not quite random, not quite predestined. 

The use of random operations in the creation of art can be seen as an attempt to 
tap into the energy of this universal chance/destiny compost heap. Artists who 
use chance are, whether conciously or not, trying to divest themselves of the no- 
tion of duality in their existence, the sense of "self" being separate from "every- 
thing else". This has much to do with several Asian philosophies, and some of 
the works in this exhibition have obvious ties to Oriental thought. But it also 
has to do with modern science, particularly physics; the implications of the 
Einstein/Podolsky/Rosen thought experiment of 1935 are far more bizarre than any- 
thing in a Zen koan. We are all unquestionably integral parts of the same Thing, 
by whatever theosophical or philosophical yardstick you use to determine what 
that "Thing" is. Our artworks are part of it as well. 

The artists in this exhibition are working at the edge of the invisible, elusive 
border of cause and effect. Chance as a process is crucial to 20th century art, 
but its role in cinema has been under-appreciated. The purposeful uses of chance 
lay bare the contruction of a medium most people prefer when it is seamlessly 
illusionistic. This three-part series examines random operations in the creation 
of film, video, music, performance, slide projection, poetry, and installation. 
It is the first of its kind. Dice-throwing, performance-games, found objects, 
randomly-determined structure, uncontrollable events, and indeterminat consequences 
are the tools that construct these works many of which are having their public or 
San Francisco premieres. 

Because most of the implementations of chance in time-based media occur during one 
or more of the production stages, its use is not always clear in the final product, 
and is often invisible. The works in- this exhibition fall roughly into six cat- 

1. Chance in Subject. At the time of the original photography or recording, the 
subject is more or less out of the control of the artist. The end result is 
often a revelation, giving something the artist could not possibly have de- 
vised on his/her own. 

- 1 - 

Chances in Time 

2. Chance in Camera/Subject Relationship. This concerns not only what occurs in 
front of the camera, but the actions of the camera as well. These are 
works in which the camera was an unusually active participant with the subject. 

3. Chance in Physical Manipulation. These are works in which the physical medium 
is manipulated and altered in ways not entirely under the artist's control. In 
film, this could involve painting, gluing objects and other forms of destruction 
to the emulsion. 

4. Chance in Editing. Given a set of written or visual modules, their chance sel- 
ection and reorganization can result in something extraordinary. This can in- 
volve a variety of preparations before the editing process begins. 

5. Chance in Presentation. This is the most visible use of chance, in that it 
occurs at the time of public presentation. Each performance is purposefully 
and sometimes wildly different from all others, or involves several key ele- 
ments developed completely in isolation from each other. 

6. Chance in the Device. It often happens in media which depend on technology 
that an artist will adapt a machine, or create a new one, which operates on 
chance principles, usually within parameters of the artist's choosing. 

Though each evening's program was designed to include a mixture of works - a var- 
iety of mediums, lengths, dates, and placement in the above six categories - each 
program does have a particular concept. The first evening, June 1st, looks at two 
historical precedents, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. The second evening, June 8th, 
concentrates on the uses of chance during the various stages of film production 
and presentation. The third evening, June 15th, highlights expanded cinema or 
film-like work in other mediums. 

The diversity and scope of these works attests both to the unlimited uses of chance 
in the creation of film and related arts, and that it is now one tool among many 
that contemporary artists use to achieve their ends. 

- James Irwin, Guest Curator 

- 2 - 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

i ne rounaauon tor Art in Cinema 


Random Operations in Film 

JUNE 1, 1985 

RETOUR A LA RAISON (1923, 5 min.) by Man Ray. 

Man Ray was one of the original experimenters in film, and his work is a fertile 
ground of ideas that would be fully taken up by later generations. This film's 
experiments include the application of his "rayogram" technique of placing objects 
on the film and exposing it to light. "There was no separation into successive 
frames as in movie film," Ray has said about the work. "I had no idea what this 
would give on the screen." 

ON MARCEL DUCHAMP (ACCORDING TO MURPHY'S LAW) (1981-84, 15 min., video) by Lynn 

This started as a reasonably straight biography on Duchamp featuring a performance 
of Relache by the Joffrey Ballet, and interviews with John Cage, Calvin Tomkins, 
Nam June Paik and others. Then a series of chance disasters occurred, including 
a cardiogram of Duchamp 's heart being stolen and held for ransom! "The process 
of making it became like the Large Glass : things breaking and being damaged," 
says Herschman. She found herself asking, "What would Duchamp do?" 

ANIMATED SOUNDTRACK (1974, 6 min., film) by Mario Castillo. 

Created by layering the results of optical printing, video and sound synthesizing, 
all of it generated from a complex combination of graphic design and photography. 
One of the primary reasons for the film, says Castillo, was to produce sounds from 
the film's graphics on his home-built optical-reader synthesizer. Many of the 
film's images are the source material for the dense track. The entire work was 
chance-oriented, using much random selection and arbitrary combinations. 

ICE (1972, 7% min., film) by J. J. Murphy. 

A film by another filmmaker is projected through a 50-pound block of ice and re- 
photographed from the other side. What is interesting is that Murphy has taken 
one of the most inviolably fixed, precision features of the film process - the 
optical lens - and mutated it, so that the image is lets pass is in constant flux. 

BREAKFAST (1972-76, 15 min., film) by Michael Snow. 

A camera dollies toward a table set as if for a breakfast cereal commercial. There 
is a clear shield in front of the camera, and it makes contact with food and simply 
keeps going. The resulting mess, obviously, was of a random nature. A hilarious 
comment on the cliches of moving cameras in theatrical films. 

- 3 - 

Chances in Time 

HONEST (1980, 6 min. , film) by Craig Schlattman. 

A performance that includes the cameras documenting the performance. An artist's 
version of a tavern strength contest, it records the filmmaker holding two run- 
ning cameras, at arm's length, shoulder high, for the duration of the 100' rolls 
of film (about 3 minutes, which must have felt like an eternity). All footage 
is included, everything is in the order of occurrence, but because neither of the 
cameras nor the tape recorder were in synch with each other, extensive displacement 
occurs in the final print. 

CODEX (1984, approx. 20 min., poetry) by Aaron Shurin. 

Created by a method evocative of film editing strategies, this piece was inspired 
partly by The Epic of Gilgamesh , an ancient Sumerian poem. Phrases and sentences 
from that epic seemed to demand Shurin 's attention. He wrote 62 of them on slips 
of paper, and would draw them out of an envelope at intervals as Codex was being 
written. As Shurin points out, it is not just the process of working with the 
quotations that was a chance process in his work, but also the fact that the 
cuneiform tablets on which the early epic was inscribed were chanced upon, so to 
speak, in the 1880 's. 

- Notes by James Irwin 

- 4 - 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

Random Operations in Film 

Program 2: June 8, 1985 

HIGH KUKUS (1973, 3 min., sound film) by James Broughton. 

A single shot of the surface of a pond in a field. It sounds simple, and it is. 
But what an array of activity occurs in this three-minute take. This is a 
classic example of the filmmaker giving himself over to external events, for 
Broughton had no control over the film except for when to turn the camera on. 
An illustration of the virtues of Zen patience, it also features Broughton on 
the soundtrack reading fourteen of his humorous haikus (thus the title) . As 
he writes in the print version of High Kukus , "Wherever you make your home, said 
the Louse, is the center of the world." 

MOTHLIGHT (1963, 4 min., silent film) by Stan Brakhage. 

Created by securing moth wings and plants between two strips of clear tape, all 
of which were thin enough to allow light to pass yet still show intricate texture. 
The projected film, presenting as it does segments and abstractions of what is 
recognizable as remnants of once-living beings, has a poetic beauty somewhat mit- 
igated by the constant reminder of death. The wings and leaves are all "found 
objects" employed by Brakhage as is. He also had no specific control over what 
the film would look like, frame by frame, when projected. 

KU (1981, 13 min., film & performance) by James Irwin. Performance by Ellen 

A combination of random operations in both the creation of the film and in the 
final presentation. A film of obscure images is projected behind a performer 
who speaks of everyday occurrences of psychic phenomena and tales from the gray 
area between causality and coincidence. The projected film is itself a sort of 
pictorial oracle, reminding us that, as Jung suggested, individual translation 
of random operations can often serve as a psychological inkblot test . "Ku" is 
the 18th hexagram of the I Ching , translated in the Wilhelm/Baynes version as 
"Work on What Has Been Spoiled". 

CHANCE FILM (1969, 12 min., sound film) by David Heintz. 

Several methods of chance were used: coin tosses, cards, and dice. These oper- 
ations determined most important choices in the planning and editing of the film, 
including type of image, camera technique, subject, and the soundtrack. There 
are a number of moments where segues or double-exposures give remarkable combina- 
tions. Heintz says such moments were truly a matter of chance: "We were quite 
astounded to see the finished film and how well many aspects worked together and 
in sequence." 

Chances in Time 6/8/85 

RANDOM (1983, 8 min. , sound videotape) by Mark Vail. 

One of the most sophisticated machines artists are using for personal work is 
the small computer. It can be a storehouse for all the random variables used 
in the other works in this series, endlessly recombined in laborious calculations 
that would take the human hand virtually forever to accomplish. Vail used a 
computer to create the music and graphics for this tape through random-number 
generating. The music was performed on the keyboard employing a seven-notes-per- 
-octave scale. There are two "characters" in the piece, one spewing out graphics, 
the other ingesting them. 

SOUND CAMERA ROTATIONS (1976-79, 33 min., sound film) by Robert Attanasio. Made 

in collaboration with Mildred Iatrou. 

Made in three installments over four years, each session comprised of Attanasio 
and Iatrou photographing and sound-recording each other in front of the Guggenheim 
Museum in New York, then attempting to hail a cab willing to drive them twice 
around the block and back in front of the museum before the roll of film runs out. 
As Attanasio puts it, "Object: Beat The Clock!" Their actions mimic the spiral- 
ling architecture of the museum. There are many chance elements: the possible 
entertainment value of random passers-by, the weather conditions, the length of 
time needed to hail a cab (holding out as long as possible for a roomy Checker) , 
even (as becomes dramatically clear) the changing fashions of year to year. 

INSTALLATION at Eye Gallery, 758 Valencia Street: 

The Installation by Michael Shemchuk is in its entirety a simple camera, a machine 
for gathering light and capturing it on a surface. A storefront window is made 
light-safe, covered with red filter material, and backed with light sensitive 
paper. By virtue of incisions made in the acetate, it becomes a huge box camera 
with a photographic image in flux visible at all times to people walking by, 
day or night. Camera obscura projections are once removed from reality but with 
a clarity of detail our eye can not capture alone, two qualities well-suited to 
the Renaissance where it was born. The comparitive murkiness of Shemchuk' s in- 
stallation is, perhaps, a more apt metaphor for our own historical period. 

Program Notes by James Irwin 

The Foundation for Art in Cinema 


The regular Bay Area showcase for personal and avant-garde film. 

Random Operations in Film 

Program 3: June 15, 1985 

0-A (1982, projected slides) by Charles Lovell. 

"In this series of photographs," writes Lovell, "I went over ten years of old 
negatives and made prints of the most interesting frames which were before the 
first exposure on the roll of film. These images were shot haphazardly, while 
advancing the film toward the first exposure, and are uncomposed and unplanned." 
The photographs are being presented as projected slides, their order determined 
at random, and provide an interesting film-like work in comparison to actual 
projected films. 

MOLD FX (1980, 2 min. , sound film) by Michael Rudnick. 

Processed home-movie footage lay exposed to moisture for ten years before 
Rudnick stumbled across it (by chance) . During that time extensive mold had 
grown on the film, producing an almost profound commentary on the typical home 
movie that peeks out from behind the shifting ugly/beautiful mold. It is a 
"found object" in the Duchamp tradition since Rudnick 's main contribution was 
printing the film for preservation, titling and then signing it. 

LEARNING TO BREATHE ABOVE GROUND (1982-84, approx. 20 min., film & performance) 

by Scott Stark. 

Layers several chance operations. It turns the film process on its head by using 
the two basic technological tools of film - camera and tape recorder - in a way 
that places the human performer virtually at their mercy rather than the other 
way around. Stark requested that three quotes be included in these notes: 

"The onset of capitalism can be traced to the onset of agriculture." - Malcolm 
Anderson, from The 20th Century Petroglyph 

"Lilacs and daisies, hornets and bees, 
telephone poles and color TVs. 

The long search has ended, the answer is found, 
we all are now learning to breathe above ground." 

- Judith Wicks, from "Vertical Shift" 

"The Lord be with you. 
(And also with you.)" 

- Roman Catholic Ritual 

COLLECTION (1982, 11 min., double-projection sound film) by Kathleen Laughlin. 

A two-projector piece, indeterminate in that the projectors are not synchronized, 
allowing chance interactions between the images. The work concerns a popular 

chance operation, collecting things. Successful collections depend on being 
at the right flea market, beach or auction at the right time. One must recog- 
nize a chance/opportunity, and seize it, for it may never come again. The form 
of collecting here is seashells. As we see them pass by, either on an invis- 
ible conveyer belt or between fingers, people on the soundtrack discuss other 
forms of collecting ("I collect ideas", "I collect aquaintances") . 

DRAGON VORTEX (1984, 9 min. , music recording and projected slides) by Larry 

Comrised of two separate elements, both of which use overt chance operations. 
The taped soundtrack is a musical work, Merope (The Lost Chord) , created on an 
instrument constructed by Price and his brother. It is an aeolian or wind harp 
with twelve tunable strings. "It's fascinating," says Price, "how various themes 
are developed and repeated, arranged only by the vagueries of the wind." The 
slides are richly colored gels projected from multiple projectors overlapping on 
the screen. As they fade in and out, various permutations of color mixing occur. 

REPORT (1963-67, 13 min., sound film) by Bruce Conner. 

Photographers have won Pullitzer Prizes for images that are extraordinary only 
in that someone actually had a camera pointed in the right direction and the 
shutter released at a fortuitous moment. An artist can employ such material at 
a later time in a work that both consolidates and transcends the information in 
that material. This is the case in Report . By the use of fragmentation, rep- 
itition and variation Conner peels back the layers and shows us that while the 
Kennedy assassination was a tragedy, the media circus surrounding it was a sordid 

FISTFIGHT (1964, 11 min., sound film) by Robert Breer. 

Originally part.jqf Karlheinz Stqckhausen's concert /happening Originale . The 
film is a deluge of images presented in short bursts separated by black leader, 
the screen's content changing radically even from frame to frame. Breer was 
interested in chance early, and says that for this film he "tried random 
couplings frame by frame and scene by scene, sometimes shuffling my card/images 
like playing cards." The soundtrack is edited from the five performances of 
Originale and was added later. "If you listen closely," says Breer, "you can 
hear on my track one of the actors complaining that the piece was too episodic - 
'not enough was left to chance'." 

- Program Notes by James Irwin